: Saga of a naive Head Gasket repair



eyewonder
02-21-12, 10:26 AM
I have just started the process of repairing a head gasket on the 2000 STS I just bought. After much reading on this forum, I went out with the intention of finding a good body/interior STS in need of a head gasket repair. I will be using Jake's studs (if I can actually get through to him). The thinking was that it could make a nice car for about the same money as one that is running - but this would have the head gasket problem eliminated.

At the end of this missive, I will humiliate myself by giving the total cost involved.

As I go through the process I will be asking advise on some issues from the experienced members here. This is not a 'gotta have it done by this weekend' project, so it will likely be somewhat slow.

So far I have gotten to the point of having drained the coolant from the radiator. By the way, I did get, and will be following the FSM for this. During the coolant drain, the FSM said to remove the lower air deflector to get to the drain on the radiator - my car didn't have a deflector.

Question 1) Is that air deflector important/essential for proper operation?

While under the car, I see that there is oil pretty much everywhere on the underside of the engine/transaxle. The car has 171,000 miles. When the engine is out, I will be able to give it a more thorough look, but with the oil everywhere,

Question 2) Is there any thing specific that I should be looking at to find the source(s) of all this oil?

Cheers
Steve

ternstes
02-21-12, 10:41 AM
Common oil leak points are the oil pan gasket and halfcase seals. Both of which have updated resealing procedures. Look in the Tech Tips forum for the exact procedure, but it involves using a special RTV sealant instead of a formed gasket.

Rear main seal, timing cover, valve covers, oil filter adapter, and oil pressure sensor are other good leak candidates.

The air deflector is a huge formed piece of plastic that shields the underside of the car from road debris, water, etc. from the front subframe crossmember to the bumper. It isn't absolutely necessary. You may be able to find one at a junkyard.

Ranger
02-21-12, 12:28 PM
I think that lower air deflector is more important than most people think. Air passing through the grill will hit the condenser. Some will go through, but the path of least resistance is down and out the bottom. The air deflector stops that and forces the air through the condenser and radiator. Exactly how crucial it is to engine cooling and running temperatures I cannot say, but it was put there for a reason and would have been cheaper to eliminate it. The fact that GM chose to install it leads me to believe that the cooling system engineers new something we don't, at least that's my theory.

eyewonder
02-21-12, 09:56 PM
OK, I'm at step 23, where I am supposed to separate the manual shift lever from the shift cable. I can see where the actuator rod slips down over a pin on the lever for the transaxle (item #1 in the drawing in the FSM, page 6-157), but I can not get the rod/cable released from the pin. And I don't want to use gorilla mechanics 101 on it.

So there is most probably a specific way to get it released - right?

Cheers,
Steve

Ranger
02-21-12, 10:35 PM
Does this help any?

http://www.genmotorinfo.com/images/383517752/26238649.png

eyewonder
02-21-12, 11:14 PM
The picture in the FSM was different, but it showed mostly the same. Your picture shows #14 as the cable in question. The end in question is to the right of #6, the retaining clip. The end reminds me of a spherical rod end - able to have a hole in the middle, but able to swivel & not bind up.

I can not see any retainer mechanism on the post (~1/8" dia) that it slides over. It has a little up/down motion, but is somehow retained on the pin. The question is, how to get that spherical rod end type connector, off.

Cheers,
Steve

Ranger
02-21-12, 11:27 PM
Maybe it comes of with the lever (#4) attached and you just remove the bolt (#5).

maeng9981
02-22-12, 02:16 AM
Remove two 13mm nuts (1)(2) that are holding (3) and cooling pipes onto the transmission (3 and 14 are connected and it's not necessary to separate them).

Use a large screwdriver to lift (14) off from the ball stud(4). Apply gentle pressure at the very end (ball stud) side only.

98eldo32v
02-22-12, 08:13 AM
"At the end of this missive, I will humiliate myself by giving the total cost involved."

Eyewonder,

There is no reason to humiliate yourself by giving the total cost involved. You might find a way to repair the car cheaper than you thought or than some others that have done it before.

The only way to humiliate yourself with a Northstar is to accept defeat and not finish the repair.

It's like going into a boxing ring with a grizzly bear. If you can't beat it, why did you even go in?

Good luck......

eyewonder
02-22-12, 09:03 AM
98Eldo,

The 'humiliate' statement was somewhat in just. Its just that back-in-the-day when I used to read Hot Rod Magazine, Popular Hot Rodding, etc, they would have great project articles, but would never give a breakdown on what the cost was. And that always frustrated me.

I have tracked expenses on other projects I have done, so this won't come as a complete shock, the final tally. And mostly it will give some information to others who are thinking about doing the same.

I'll tackle the gear shift cable issue tonight after work.

Back to the question of oil leaks; the bottom & sides of the engine are pretty much completely covered in oil, making identification of the leak source very problematic. Remember, this car has 171,000 miles. Cleaning it up while out of the car to make it look pretty, and then reinstalling would be one way to see where the leak(s) were coming from.

But then after finding the source of the leaks, it would be 'take it out again'.

The other option would be to just shotgun everything: oil pan gasket, oil manifold/distribution plate, oil filter mount.

What are you folks thoughts on the shotgun approach?

Cheers,
Steve

coaster
02-22-12, 10:01 AM
:)shotgun thought smart

Speedygman
02-22-12, 12:56 PM
:thumbsup:

ternstes
02-22-12, 05:01 PM
Fix every gasket, seal, and wear part that is not moderately easy to access with the engine out. You will hate having to pull the engine twice. On the bright side, it is easier the second time!

eyewonder
02-22-12, 09:41 PM
I got the shift lever disconnected, with a little more force than I anticipated. Wheels off, struts loose, brake lines, connectors off.

Is it common to NOT have an oil cooler? No lines coming off the filter housing here.

Next step should be to disconnect the AC compressor fittings, but I have not yet purged the system. Can you rent equipment to recover the R-134a? Or what has been your collective experiences with that?

So at this point, I can see getting the engine cradle dropped out this weekend. The FSM was not very specific about how to lift the body off the engine cradle, once it is loose. I have a cherry picker engine lift to use. But where & how would you attach to the body to lift it up?

So, asking for advise on AC purge, and body attachment techniques.

Cheers,
Steve

Ranger
02-22-12, 10:11 PM
Not all have an oil cooler. That's pretty common.

Not sure if you can rent refrigerant recovery equipment.

I think you hook the cherry picker up to the radiator support beam.

vincentm
02-22-12, 10:17 PM
Use a large screwdriver to lift (14) off from the ball stud(4). Apply gentle pressure at the very end (ball stud) side only.

Exactly what I was just gonna say, after the bolts, I used a really long flathead screwdriver to pry it off.

ternstes
02-23-12, 07:37 AM
It is a bit tricky, but you can leave the AC system connected. Unbolt the compressor and tie it off SECURELY to the body, out of the way. I lift from the top radiator support beam, like Ranger said. Just block around it with some wood, wrap your chain, and lift... slowly! I can throw up some pictures if you need a visual.

eyewonder
02-23-12, 08:51 AM
Pictures would be great.

Cheers,
Steve

Submariner409
02-23-12, 10:59 AM
Is it common to NOT have an oil cooler?

Yes, NO oil cooler is far more common. Your STS would have one if it was a Z car or if the original orderer/buyer had specified a towing package.

(HD cooling option - V03 )

ternstes
02-23-12, 01:58 PM
Here's a shot of how we lifted my 2000 STS...

We had access to a nice a-frame stand and pneumatic hoist

87040

This my friend's 97 STS we did first. Used a cherry picker with a big 4x4 under the bottom.

87041

eyewonder
02-23-12, 02:27 PM
Thanks for the pics. I see that the radiator is out - yes? I did not see that in the FSM, perhaps because they expected the work to be done in shops with lifts.

Cheers,
Steve

ternstes
02-23-12, 03:03 PM
I took the radiator out of the 97 because it was damaged, and out of the 2000 just to make things easier. It does not have to be removed.

89falcon
02-23-12, 03:59 PM
on the 97, you don't have to raise it as high if you take the engine out the passenger side wheel well.

I stacke up bags of cement under the front doors just to give me a littl more safety when the care was hoisted up.

maeng9981
02-23-12, 07:06 PM
Just for the reference, check out my writeup (http://calicaddy.net78.net/cadseville/1headgasket/caddynorthstar1.htm) I wrote during my repair.

eyewonder
02-23-12, 09:34 PM
maeng9981,

Thanks for the link. I skimmed it quick (no reading) & it looks to be very helpful. I will sit down & read the text, when I get a chance.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
02-25-12, 09:23 PM
Its Saturday evening, & I am retiring for the evening, with an adult beverage (or two).

Tomorrow I hope to drop the engine cradle, but am at a small roadblock right now. The FSM is telling me to lock the steering wheel, and to remove the intermediate shaft pinch bolt on the steering gear. First issue, is that when I remove the ignition key, the steering wheel will still turn. I can turn it a full 360 degrees, and I would have expected it to lock.

Question: So, do I have something mechanical in the steering column that needs repair?

For now I have just centered the steering wheel, and will leave it there. Other reading recommended/suggested using a GM Steering Column Anti-Rotation Pin J-42640, which I don't have.

Question: Is that steering wheel lock absolutely necessary, or can I get by being very careful to not move it?

The bigger holdup right now for me is not seeing a way to get to the pinch bolt, which I have not even been able to visually find on my car. Suggestions on how to identify & remove that bolt would be appreciated.

And now a question away from the removal procedure. Before starting the engine removal, I took the car 'around the block', just for the fun of it. I did give it about a 2-3 sec WOT blast, watched the temp gauge start rising, and cruised back to the house. Checking over the engine, I noticed that the water pump belt had broken, most likely during my WOT fun. Using my fingers on the water pump pulley, I can turn it, but it took much more effort that I would have expected. So, should that pump turn freely? Of should I be feeling friction of the seals on the shaft?
If necessary, I would much prefer replacing the pump when its out of the car, but don't want to replace unless its really necessary.


Cheers,
Steve

89falcon
02-26-12, 03:02 AM
Its Saturday evening, & I am retiring for the evening, with an adult beverage (or two).

Tomorrow I hope to drop the engine cradle, but am at a small roadblock right now. The FSM is telling me to lock the steering wheel, and to remove the intermediate shaft pinch bolt on the steering gear. First issue, is that when I remove the ignition key, the steering wheel will still turn. I can turn it a full 360 degrees, and I would have expected it to lock.

Question: So, do I have something mechanical in the steering column that needs repair?

For now I have just centered the steering wheel, and will leave it there. Other reading recommended/suggested using a GM Steering Column Anti-Rotation Pin J-42640, which I don't have.

Question: Is that steering wheel lock absolutely necessary, or can I get by being very careful to not move it?

The bigger holdup right now for me is not seeing a way to get to the pinch bolt, which I have not even been able to visually find on my car. Suggestions on how to identify & remove that bolt would be appreciated.

And now a question away from the removal procedure. Before starting the engine removal, I took the car 'around the block', just for the fun of it. I did give it about a 2-3 sec WOT blast, watched the temp gauge start rising, and cruised back to the house. Checking over the engine, I noticed that the water pump belt had broken, most likely during my WOT fun. Using my fingers on the water pump pulley, I can turn it, but it took much more effort that I would have expected. So, should that pump turn freely? Of should I be feeling friction of the seals on the shaft?
If necessary, I would much prefer replacing the pump when its out of the car, but don't want to replace unless its really necessary.


Cheers,
Steve

steve, the "pinch bolt" is under the boot. Lift the boot at the bottom and you'll find it. I think it's easiest to get to from the driver's side wheel well, and if you drop the rear of the cradle a couple inches (ie, loosen the cradle bolts in the back). If the water pump isn't turning, you should think about replacing now. When they freeze up, they have a tendency to take the pulley with them....then you're trying to get off all that melted plastic off the cam....and I've even seen some break the WP drive off the came doing it....now the problem got WAY bigger! The watre pump is cheap, and it's worth it to just replace it if you're doing everything else.

As far as not turning the wheel....I'm not sure it's a big deal. I think they are trying to prevent someone turning it a couple times on way or the other and screwing up some spring loading. As a matter of fact, the steering shaft is MUCH easier to put back on if you have someone in the car wiggling the wheel a little to help you get it lined up just right.

maeng9981
02-26-12, 07:12 AM
There is no steering lock for the late model Sevilles. You won't need to find a way to lock the steering wheel, just make sure you don't turn it when it's off the rack. There are wirings and connectors in there that will get damaged if it is rotated too much to one direction.

Water pump belt is broken because either the tensioner locked up or the pump itself locked up. Inspect both items, I'd just replace both for cheap insurance.

As mentioned above, the intermediate shaft pinch bolt is located under the boot. You need to lift up the boot, and you will find it. Access through the driver side wheel house, with the wheel off.

http://i.imgur.com/ZwOnX.jpg

Submariner409
02-26-12, 09:28 AM
As far as not turning the wheel....I'm not sure it's a big deal. I think they are trying to prevent someone turning it a couple times on way or the other and screwing up some spring loading. As a matter of fact, the steering shaft is MUCH easier to put back on if you have someone in the car wiggling the wheel a little to help you get it lined up just right.

Do some research on the steering wheel position sensor alignment and the electrical clock spring (air bag trigger wire). Turn that wheel too far one way when disconnected or re-connect it one turn off from original and you're in big trouble. Yes, wiggle the steering wheel when hooking up the intermediate steering shaft. No, don't turn the wheel. Not even 360 degrees. It's all in the GM service manual.

JoeTahoe
02-26-12, 10:21 AM
use a bungy cord or tie down, hooked between the steering wheel and the brake pedal to keep it from rotating freely. Just for security

eyewonder
02-26-12, 11:20 AM
Good advise, guys. But I am having a hard time moving the boot up(?) off of the steering gear, so as to access the pinch bolt.

Is it safe to remove the driver side read mounting bolts for the cradle, and lower everything a few inches? Or would I damage something?

Cheers,
Steve

Submariner409
02-26-12, 11:40 AM
Nothing wrong with lowering that end of the cradle a couple of inches - be careful of stretching wires and stuff up in the engine compartment...........some owners make extended "bolts" out of metric allthread, nuts, and washers for just this sort of job.

eyewonder
02-26-12, 01:16 PM
My frustration is just about at max, on this steering gear boot. I can get my hand on the boot, rotate it, but can NOT get it disengaged from the cylindrical gearbox, which would allow me to raise it up to get access to the pinch bolt.

There must be some technique that others have used to get it clear, but I am close to just cutting into it, and replacing when it all goes back together.

Cheers,
Steve

89falcon
02-26-12, 03:42 PM
My frustration is just about at max, on this steering gear boot. I can get my hand on the boot, rotate it, but can NOT get it disengaged from the cylindrical gearbox, which would allow me to raise it up to get access to the pinch bolt.

There must be some technique that others have used to get it clear, but I am close to just cutting into it, and replacing when it all goes back together.

Cheers,
Steve

If you lower the rear of the cradle a little, it may be easier to separate.......

eyewonder
02-26-12, 05:25 PM
Well, its finally off. I was tempted to use the 'blue wrench', but was able to get to the bolt using only my Spyderco. That urethane boot was just NOT coming off without some surgery. So, more parts on the order list. And so it goes.

But at least I am on the road to getting the cradle out.

Cheers,
Steve

maeng9981
02-27-12, 04:15 AM
Wow, I remember that mine was just "sitting" on it and it was easy to move. Glad you got it finally sorted out.

Intermediate shaft pinch bolt? Sounds like the next step is to lower the cradle. :thumbsup:

eyewonder
02-28-12, 10:42 PM
Now that the hard part is done, all I have to do is take apart, clean up, diagnose oil leaks (under an already oil saturated rust preventive coating), disassemble, repair, rebuild and reassemble a 32-valve, DOHC, all-aluminum, greater-than-1-HP-Per-Cubic Inch engine, that I have never touched before, which literally has more computers interconnected than the CNC Machine Tool Controllers that I maintain & repair for a living.

No problem!

Cheers,
Steve

vincentm
02-29-12, 12:13 AM
Woohoo!

maeng9981
02-29-12, 04:04 AM
VERY nice work - I applaud you. :thumbsup:

Jesda
02-29-12, 05:58 AM
Congrats! Please post more photos if you can.

ternstes
02-29-12, 07:35 AM
Good Job!

eyewonder
02-29-12, 09:04 AM
I have quite a few photos taken thus far, but they are mostly to help me get things back together - masking tape w/numbers to help me get connectors in the correct spot, etc. As I get into the engine I will post a few photos to show the condition @ 170,000 miles.

Right now my inclination is to to do EVERYTHING - bearings, rings, oil distribution plate, gaskets, etc. After all, in for a penny, in for a pound.

This engine has quite a bit of oil, just about everywhere. I have been thinking about renting a power-washer and blasting away before anything more is taken apart. Tape/seal all the electrical connectors, of course. Are there any specific components on the engine/transaxle that would be harmed?

Cheers,
Steve

Speedygman
02-29-12, 09:56 AM
Go easy on cleaning the coil packs, alternator, all electrical devises.

eyewonder
02-29-12, 11:08 PM
Ya know, them Cadillac engineers were very considerate of others when designing the Northstar engine. I mean, after all, they did leave room in the valley under the intake for some poor, homeless woodland creatures. If they could just have made it not quite so hot, it would have been perfect for pack-rats.

The picture of the intake is not very clear, but the inside is just covered with oil residue. How common is this on an old engine, and what would be some areas to look at, for the cause of this?

Cheers,
Steve

CadillacLuke24
02-29-12, 11:57 PM
Inside of the intake manifold gunks up like that. Normal operation, won't hurt anything, and will come right back if you clean it. As for in the valley, that's weird. I have crap blow into my wiper channels, but noting like that! I agree though, clean that bad boy UP!

maeng9981
03-01-12, 01:33 AM
Make sure you cover the intake holes before you clean it up.

:thumbsup: to you trying to recover a Cadillac to where it belongs to.

CadillacLuke24
03-01-12, 02:49 AM
:yeah: the road, with all 8 cylinders in sweeeeeet symphony :D

meec b
03-02-12, 10:36 AM
Hey ternstes I'm in cincinnati and I have 2000 deville with the head gasket problem I see you told someone if they were in cincy u could fix it. Where's your shop located and how much do u charge for this

Mark D
03-03-12, 02:25 PM
I might be able to give you a few pointers that might help. I'm no expert, but I've dropped a number of Cad Seville drive trains (cradles) over the past ten years. Older models than your 2000, but pretty similar.
One thing I found is easier - at least for me - is to leave the steering rack in the car, connected to the column. I disconnect the power steering lines from the rack, remove the two bolts that secure the rack to the cradle frame and disconnect the tie rod ends.

With regard to refrigerant, if you own a vacuum pump and manifold set you can recharge it yourself. There is a cheater way that you can do if you like. It could leave moisture from atmosphere in the lines, but over three decades of working with AC systems, I have never really had any serious trouble from using this method when equipment was not available.
That is, leave a high pressure refrigerant line loose so it leaks. Using one of those U-Charge-It kit hoses, connect it to the low side port. Keep the can upright. Open the valve and let about half the can blow through the system and exit through the loosened high side line. In this fashion, air can be displaced from most of the system. Leaving the can discharging into the line, close the open line (high side port can also be used) and begin evaporative charging by leaving the can valve open.
Shaking and heating the can will increase the rate of evaporation.
Your car will have a low refrigerant disable switch on it. You will need to jumper this switch. That, or evaporative charge enough refrigerant to get the compressor to run for short bursts.
Once you have the compressor working, charge until you either know you have put in the full amount of refrigerant it uses, or until the high side lines are cold, the blower is blowing cold air and the compressor is running most of the time, but cycles out. There are more exact ways to do this same thing, but I'm trying to keep it in a way that you can do it with nothing more than the knowledge you already have and the tools you already have.

When dropping the cradle, I also leave the struts in the car, disconnecting the ball joints instead. This leaves the brake rigging all installed and hanging from the struts.
Mostly I do that for space considerations, but it has also proved to me to be easier.

With cost, you probably won't do what I just did a few months ago..... My wife's '98 STS. Second time for head gaskets on that one. 198K on it this time. Last time was many years ago and studs weren't on the horizon yet. This time I used Jake's studs. Definitely the way to go.
But while I had it apart this time, I left no stone unturned. I made sure everything that could potentially be a problem in the future that might involve even a partial lowering of the cradle was taken care of. I spent as much on this car as it would have cost me to buy another '98 STS in perfect running condition. The thing with that, though, is that any car I might buy would need the same work at some point. I even replaced the right bank oxygen sensor just because it isn't easy to do with the engine in the car. I repaired, modified to be better, or replaced anything that in my wildest dreams could potentially cause a failure. After all, with 200K on the car, and expecting at least another 100K, I want that car to be as reliable as it has been for the past 200K miles.
The last thing I want is a phone call from her, 70 miles away, stalled on the side on I-94 in Minneapolis. Or worse.
You might want to consider doing something similar, based on what you know about your own car.

You should consider doing more than just seeing if your heads are flat. Upon examination, I found that all the exhaust valves on the heads on the '98 (most recent, other cars as well) were burned pretty badly. Your car should probably have the roller cams, so there should be no exhaust cam issues. But the roller cam was a mid-year change in 2000. So if your car has flat tappet cams, check your exhaust cams carefully, and the lifters. If the lifters show wear, and the cam lobes show wear, then get your cams reground or buy new. Cheaper by far to regrind. I would recommend Mike Jones - JRC Technologies Group in Denver N.C.
He knows Northstar cams like the back of his hand and knows exactly what to do with your cams.
Your heads should be completely disassembled and inspected. Assuming exhaust valves are burned, replace them. It won't pay to grind them. The margin's are too thin and they'll just burn out quickly. Make sure you have a GOOD machinist do the work. There are many who THINK they're good. The heads should look just like brand new ones when you get them back. Take the opportunity to resurface them too. Make sure the machinist can do a decent job. They should be glass smooth after resurfacing. And flat!

The way Jake's studs go is great. The only thing to be careful of is drilling. If you haven't done a lot of work with hand drills in the past, be prepared! You need a powerful LOW RPM drill, 1/2" chuck minimum. The drill bit will be sharp, and drilling into a hole not a lot smaller than the bit itself. Therefore, the bit will try to screw its way into the hole. This will also cause the drill to try to pull from your hands. It will cause a twisting motion and can cause the drill bit to get off center, potentially making your hole angle go off.
I would recommend using a hand stone or fine grinding wheel to very slightly dull the outermost points of the cutting edges of the bit.

Timing chains are not expensive. If your car has a lot of miles on it, you might want to replace them just because. I did that on the '98 I just did. Check your chain tensioners and chain guides for wear. Some wear is to be expected. But sometimes a chain tensioner can be worn right through the shoe. Now is the time to replace it.

That's all I can think of off hand.
Mark D.

eyewonder
03-03-12, 09:51 PM
Mark,

Thanks for the write-up & suggestions. This being my first experience, I just dropped the cradle, complete. At this point I have all the accessories off, and hopefully tomorrow, I will be pulling the heads off.

You did have me stressing just a bit when you said that roller cams started in mid-2000. Turns out my engine does have the roller cams. Looking at the cams on one head (valve cover not off the other, yet) I see a couple of lobes that have a 'wear line'(?) on them. Not cupped, or worn that I can feel, but I can see them clearly.

For the AC system purge, I went with the environmentally approved method - I paid someone to do it! I live in a small town (~7,000 population), and I only found 1 shop that would do it. So I told him to come out and do it. He came out, pulled the R-134a out, we talked about cars, etc, and then I paid him for the work: $15 in Federal Reserve Notes.

With this being a small town in SE Kansas, and only 1 machine shop here, I'm not sure what to do about the heads. I really have no way to judge how competent the shop is - they might do top-of-the-line work, or maybe don't have any experience with Northstar engines. Do you have any recommendations on where to send them, if I decide to? And any ball-park guess on cost? Of course that depends on how many new parts are put in, but the basic machine work, cleanup, etc should be the same, no matter what new parts are put in.

Timing chains: I should get to them tomorrow to look at. Then the heads come off so I can see the gasket, piston top, combustion chamber, etc. I'll also get to take a peek at the cylinder wall condition. Right now one intake valve is open enough for me to almost convince myself that I can see the factory honing pattern. If so, that would be nice.

I have pretty much convinced myself to go pedal-to-the-metal on the repair (overhaul). This engine is just completely covered in oil everywhere below the block/saddle split line. And once I start there, I might as well just do EVERYTHING. I want NOT to have to get into the engine again.

Oh, and having decided to do the whole engine, how do I attach chains to the block to lift it out of the cradle? The heads will be off by then.

Cheers
Steve

maeng9981
03-03-12, 11:54 PM
I don't think roller cam followers engine was a mid 2000 change - my engine was produced in 1999 and has roller cam followers. All 2000 should have this, maybe with a few exceptions (99 year models sold as 2000 and such. - VIN will tell.)

ternstes
03-05-12, 10:32 AM
Meec b, I do not want to hijack the thread, please contact me off the forums at timernstes AT gmail DOT com

But suffice to say I am a shade tree mechanic, fixing my friend's 97 STS and my own 2000 STS. I do not have a shop of my own but utilize my company's maintenance garage.

eyewonder
03-05-12, 11:23 AM
Weekend progress - some, but not what I had hoped for. I got the crank pulley off, but was unable to get the water pump drive pulley off of the cam. I am making a 'custom tool' today (sneaking in some personal time at work) and hope that it will do the trick this evening.

I noticed that one of the valve covers is a different color than the other. And when I pulled the plugs out of the right bank (#1,3,5,7) it took much more effort to break them loose than I would have expected. There was also quite a bit of oil around the plugs (before pulling them out), so maybe some leakage between valve cover & head? When I went to the left bank, I was able to remove plugs #6 & 8 with my fingers on the socket, NO BREAK LOOSE effort at all. Plugs #2 & 4 did take some effort to remove, but only about 1/4 of effort for the right bank. Well, I think that warrants a close look at the heads.

Anybody have good experience with shops (dealer/private, etc) doing head work on the Northstar?


Cheers,
Steve

Ranger
03-05-12, 12:19 PM
You use a P/S pump pulley puller to remove the WP drive pulley.

The only difference between the front and rear cam covers is the color.

The oil you see in the plug wells is seepage from the cam cover O rings and is normal and inconsequential.

The heads almost never need any work. I'd just replace the gaskets.

eyewonder
03-05-12, 12:45 PM
Ranger,

So the different color of the valve covers is standard? That surprises me. The paint is mostly coming off, so is there any special type of paint to use - I mean I just gotta have a pretty engine!

I hope my heads don't need any work. I just talked with the local Cadillac dealer for a recommended machine shop to do valve job, and that shop quoted me $700 for both heads, assuming no replacement parts. When talking with them, they mentioned having to do valve lash adjustment on the bench - I thought the N* had hydraulic lash adjusters that didn't need attention?

So with that reluctance to immediately spend $700, can you give me some guidance on what specifically I should look for on the heads?

The more I learn, the more I realize how much more there is to learn.

Cheers,
Steve

maeng9981
03-05-12, 02:40 PM
Yes, the front cam cover is either silver or off white, and the back one is black. These are magnesium cam covers.

Chances are your heads are okay. They do have hydraulic lash adjusters.

ternstes
03-05-12, 02:47 PM
Check them for flatness, but I doubt your heads would need a valve job or even resurfacing, but replacing the valve seals requires a bit of work (if you bought new valve seals). And yes, there are no lash adjustments to make on the northstar.

Ranger
03-05-12, 05:17 PM
:yeah:
Just lay a straight edge on the head surface and check for flatness. I doubt you'll find any need to have them surfaced.

JoeTahoe
03-05-12, 06:44 PM
You should check the vavles and seats, Northstars are hard on exhaust valves at the seats. I checked mine for flatness and they were fine. The exhaust valves were shot, I just bought all new exhaust valves and hand lapped them in with some valve compound. I have had a 2001 Eldo. tore apart with 70,000 miles and the valves looked good. My 99 STS with 130,000 on it, The exhaust vavles were shot and the valve seals are well worth changing while apart.

Mark D
03-06-12, 04:06 PM
As far as the mid-year change in 2000 to roller cams goes, all I can say is that's what I found in GM Literature a few years ago. There could be reasons why a 99 might still have a roller cam.

As far as lifting the engine, there should be a lifting bracket on the right rear corner of the engine, unless you have removed it. At the other end, find a convenient accessory mounting hole of 10mm or bigger on the opposite corner from the lifting bracket.

As another posted above, check your exhaust valves for sure. Complete head disassembly should be done anyway if you plan to resurface the heads. Avoid any shop that will not disassemble the heads, but will resurface them. How do they get them clean?

I, personally, would avoid any shop that is not familiar with overhead cam heads. Cadillac specific experience is great, but at least experience with OHC engines would be good.
I personally hauled my heads 135 miles each way to have a shop I can trust do the work. I hate it when I have to take something apart again because of something I did, or didn't do. But it is even worse - much worse - when it is something someone else did or did not do. Ask around and find out who is building the local race engines that last for more than just a season, and that also win races. Then look at his shop. If it is clean and well equipped and he is a friendly, but probably a bit eccentric, guy, then that's the guy you would want to do your headwork. Assuming he also has lots of OHC experience, and he probably does in this day and age.
My opinion only, of course.
There are too many hacks out there, though, to be able to trust just anyone to get it right.

Kudo's for wanting to go through the whole thing. I suspect that (I don't recall reading the mileage or condition of the car/engine earlier in the thread) if it has less than 200K miles on it, the bottom end is probably in excellent condition. The oil all over the place is kind of common, though. Could be through the crankcase seals/gaskets, but also from too-loose oil filters (seen that) and all the items mentioned by others here, such as crank seal, timing cover gasket, oil pressure sender, (seen that) valve cover gaskets (seen that) and more.
The bottom ends on these things are pretty stout, and long lasting. If it has been running well, the only real reason to split it apart would be to fix oil leaks. Lots of work for just that. The rest of it will probably run longer than the car will last. - - - Of course, I say this from an area where cars routinely rust out in a matter of 5 to 10 years due to road salt.
Road salt does a lot more damage to the economy AND ecology than a couple pounds of R-134a could ever do.
Mark D.

eyewonder
03-07-12, 10:38 AM
I got the cylinder head off the right side last night. Two of the head bolts broke loose with ease, maybe 40ft-lbs of torque. Looking down the holes in the block, there was at least one that mostly looked like powdered aluminum. Two (probably the ones that broke loose easily) came out with viscous oil/gunk on them. One other had a bit of aluminum in its threads, but the others didn't seem to be out of the ordinary.

I had used an old 'beam style' torque wrench to try to see what force it took to break loose the head bolts. I had taken a 10mm allen wrench, cut it off, dropped it into a 10mm 1/2" drive socket, brazed (tried to, anyway) it into the socket to keep it from slipping, and was using that to break loose the head bolts. On all but the two loose head bolts, I could usually feel a snap release, but had to try again, to actually get the bolts to release. After all the bolts were loose, I looked at my custom tool, and the snapping sound was most likely the allen wrench slipping inside the socket. So tonight I will be searching for a good 'impact drive' quality socket. Oh, and my old torque wrench was pretty much wrecked due to the force required to break loose the bolts.

The cylinders still had the factory crosshatch hone pattern that many others have described. This was with 171,000 miles on this engine.

The head gasket looked like coolant holes/passages were clogged up. Possibly Bar's Leak, or some other snake-oil.

I laid a straight-edge on the head, and was not able to see any noticeable warpage. Still trying to decide if/where to send the heads out for rework.

Cheers,
Steve

Ranger
03-07-12, 12:44 PM
I got the cylinder head off the right side last night. Two of the head bolts broke loose with ease, maybe 40ft-lbs of torque. Looking down the holes in the block, there was at least one that mostly looked like powdered aluminum.
Oh oh! Better have a look at the "Root Cause" sticky, if you haven't already, before you go any further.

Mark D
03-07-12, 02:53 PM
Actually that snap could have been the bolts coming loose. This is common - the norm - on bolts that are still holding at least a little.

Try to borrow a bore scope and look down into the bolt holes (after you blow them out, with solvent and that would be after you have protected the cylinders from small debris from getting down between the piston and the wall) to see just what you have in there. The holes that looked to you like dust are probably just stripped out and the whole reason you have that thing apart in the first place. But if at all possible, glean all the information you can on each hole. It might be a waste of time, or it might become useful information.
Instead of seeing what it takes to loosen them, my own preference is to tighten on them with a torque wrench to see how much it takes to make them turn. You'd be surrprised at how many of those bolts that seemed tight were really only holding marginally.

If you check your heads for straigtness, along with a straight edge designed for the job, you need to run feeler gauges. A surface plate is an even better bet. If there's nobody else around, even that engine shop near you that you mentioned would probably have the right equipment to truly determine how flat your heads are. OTH, there's every potential that they're just fine in that regard.
You still need to consider the exhaust valves, which at your mileage might or might not be shot, but they're headed in that direction in any case. You don't really want to pull those heads off again when a cylinder starts poofing out the exhaust, do you?

If you can't find anyone else around that you would trust with those heads, say so and I will get you the address of a shop that definitely will do it right, leave no stone unturned, will not screw you, and the heads will, in all perspective, be as new heads when you get them back. Not cheap, but not robbers. You can just UPS the heads to them.

I know everyone talks about the hone crosshatch pattern still on their engine after a zillion miles. I, too, am impressed. But the fact is that things have changed since the days when you had to hone off a ridge at the top of a cylinder before you could shove a piston out. That ridge in indication of how much cylinder wear.
Today, just about anything shows that same crosshatch. I think that it is mostly due to the adoption of very thin and low tension piston rings that seal better, but induce far less pressure, thus less wear, on the cylinder wall. Like everyone says, the bottom end of these things is rugged far beyond what was necessary for the intended purpose. In other words, people like to say bullet proof.
Yes, you can kill it, but you have to work at it.
Mark D.

eyewonder
03-07-12, 03:58 PM
Ranger,

I read the 'root causes' thread, again. I will pull the other head tonight, look at both sides to get an idea of whats there. But.... the options are to junk the block without trying to put inserts in. BTW, I just ordered a set of Norm's inserts, to be used with ARP studs. Other option is drill the block, and see how it turns out. Which is what I intend to do.

Mark,

I have access to a granite surface plate here at work, so I will probably bring the heads in, put some Dykem on them, & see what's flat, and what is not.

If you could PM me with contact info for that shop that does the heads, I'd appreciate it. That will give me more options.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
03-07-12, 10:25 PM
The left head is off, and all the bolts acted like you would expect for a good block. Head gasket had similar gunk blocking(?) cooling holes. No obvious structural damage to block or head.

Now ..... I need to separate the engine from the trans-axle - without breaking anything, like important casting parts. Moving things around now, it looks like the trans-axle will not be supported, and just drop down. How do I keep it secure, while separating from engine?

Also, how should I actually attach my cherry-picker to the block? There doesn't appear to be any good points to hook on to.

Suggestions are always appreciated.

Cheers,
Steve

Ranger
03-07-12, 10:43 PM
Ranger,

I read the 'root causes' thread, again. I will pull the other head tonight, look at both sides to get an idea of whats there. But.... the options are to junk the block without trying to put inserts in. BTW, I just ordered a set of Norm's inserts, to be used with ARP studs. Other option is drill the block, and see how it turns out. Which is what I intend to do.

Steve
That powdery stuff you talked about is what is scary. I'd hate to have you go through all this work and expense for nothing. That's why I mentioned it. I'd drill them out and pay REAL close attention to what you drill out of those particular holes. If it is still powdery, I'd be real leery to continue. Good luck and keep us posted.

Submariner409
03-07-12, 11:53 PM
When talking with them, they mentioned having to do valve lash adjustment on the bench - I thought the N* had hydraulic lash adjusters that didn't need attention?

They're talking about setting valve tip height above the spring seat - there is a specific height - done by cutting/cleaning up valve seats, in some cases also by cutting the valve seating face - not recommended for exhaust valves: Get that valve head edge too thin and you have instant hot spot, valve head "tulip" problems and failure. If necessary, replace all the exhaust valves.

EDIT: This ^^^ also ties in with setting valve spring/retainer height - done at the same time (for very, very precise spring tensions in exotic engines) in order to prevent valve spring coil binding at high rpm.

ternstes
03-08-12, 09:45 AM
Definitely support the tail housing and the main trans housing with a block of wood and a jackstand. If you are removing the pan to drain fluid etc then remove the pan first and then strategically support the trans housing with blocks of wood and jackstands. Once you separate the engine, the only thing keeping the trans on the cradle is the rear mount, and it's not going to hold.

Attach your lifting chain to some large bolts threaded into their mounting holes on opposite sides of the block. Make sure everything is supported SECURELY before separating the engine, otherwise things WILL move on you! The engine and trans should separate easily (spray a little penetrant in the mounting dowel areas). If it's not separating easily, you missed a bracket on the rear of the engine between it and the tail housing.

eyewonder
03-16-12, 10:33 PM
Yeah, I think a good re-seal is in order. Tomorrow the engine (and trans-axle in the garage) will get treated to a power wash. As well as all the other filthy parts that came off before. After the clean-up, I will take a look at the bearings to see what shape they are in. I have pretty much convinced myself that it would be penny wise & pound foolish to NOT just put all new parts in.

I had wanted to use Jake's studs, but it seems that it was not meant to be. I got Norm's inserts early this week, and some ARP studs two days ago. That combination was a little more expensive that Jake's would have been, but I have them in my hands now. I have confidence that this combination will be a permanent fix for loosing head gaskets.

I found on ebay some cheap ($35) USB bore-scopes. I have one on order, and if it gets here soon, I'm hoping to be able to get some pics of the head bolt holes, before drilling & taping. If it works, it will probably give me nightmares.

With everything apart, it will be time to clean up all the gasket surfaces. I know that scotch-brite is the kiss of death, so what is a good method that you have used?

Cheers,
Steve

vincentm
03-16-12, 10:48 PM
I heard to beware if the block powders instead of chips when retapping that it might be of a poor casting.


CCC has went through 3 cracked blocks this month alone due to original poor casts...

Faded Crest
04-06-12, 01:53 PM
How is the project going, Steve?

eyewonder
04-06-12, 03:39 PM
Funny you should ask.

I just got back from the car wash cleaning the pan & lower half-case.

If I don't find anything that I have totally, obviously, screwed up, I will try to do some photos & updates in the next few days.

And if I did hose something up royally, visiting days at the local sanitarium are Saturdays & Sundays, 2PM-6PM.

Cheers,
Steve

Faded Crest
04-06-12, 05:39 PM
Well I hope we see some pics soon then! LOL. Otherwise I need the address to the sanitarium so I can send flowers.

weister42
04-07-12, 02:48 AM
I think that lower air deflector is more important than most people think. Air passing through the grill will hit the condenser. Some will go through, but the path of least resistance is down and out the bottom. The air deflector stops that and forces the air through the condenser and radiator. Exactly how crucial it is to engine cooling and running temperatures I cannot say, but it was put there for a reason and would have been cheaper to eliminate it. The fact that GM chose to install it leads me to believe that the cooling system engineers new something we don't, at least that's my theory.


I thought the rubber flap is a splashguard so no road dirt/rocks/water can bounce up and around the radiator, belts and engine compartment? I took mine off three years ago cause it was falling off and did not see any difference in operating temperature since it was taken off. More dead bugs stuck in the radiator, that's one thing I noticed and I had to clean them off.

eyewonder
04-10-12, 10:38 AM
Time to catch up on progress. Well, I have now acknowledged that I am completely, totally, ALL IN on this project. I sent the heads out to be worked on. All exhaust guides needed to be replaced, and one exhaust valve.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Cylinder%20Heads/OldHeadApart.jpg

This shot is one of the heads after removal from engine, with cams, SHLAs & rockers removed, and parts organized.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Cylinder%20Heads/Left_Nstar_Head.jpg

This shot is a little diagram of what went where.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Cylinder%20Heads/FreshHead2.jpg

One shot of fresh head.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Cylinder%20Heads/FreshHead.jpg

And the block-side view of the fresh head.

Yep, definitely ALL IN.

Cheers,
Steve

----------

I was finally able to separate the engine from the trans-axle, using wood blocks, etc to support the trans-axle. With the engine out & clear, I used the factory tool to remove the rear crankshaft seal.

As with most everything else on this project, I am getting carried away with buying tools.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Dowel%20Guides/Rear%20Seal%20Removal/CameraDump033.jpg

This is the removal tool installed to the crank.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Dowel%20Guides/Rear%20Seal%20Removal/CameraDump034.jpg

And here, with some of the self-taping metal screws already into the old seal.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Dowel%20Guides/Rear%20Seal%20Removal/CameraDump035.jpg

And the old seal removed.

Cheers,
Steve

Faded Crest
04-10-12, 11:37 AM
Looking good Steve! :thumbsup:

eyewonder
04-10-12, 10:43 PM
Taking the engine apart, down to the block was fairly easy. Taking the lower case off, the crank itself looked pretty good, no grooving or scoring. I took a close look at the bearing, but they did not look 'perfect'.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Bearings/Bearings002.jpg

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Bearings/Bearings001.jpg

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Bearings/Bearings003.jpg

The pictures don't show all the detail (the photographers fault), but there were enough marks/blemishes that it just made a handy excuse to spend more money.

I took the crank to my machine shop & had it mic'd - no egg shaped journals, so I had them polish it.

Polish crank - check
New main bearings - check
New main bearing cap bolts/studs - check
New rod bearings - check
New rod cap bolts - check
New oil distribution plate - check
New piston rings - check

Fiscal sanity - NOT!

Cheers,
Steve

----------

With the bare block now on the engine stand, it was time to prepare for the inserts. Which meant pulling the alignment dowels out of the block.

Some of the techniques I read about ended up rendering the dowels unusable, but I had read one idea that appealed to me. So I shamelessly stole that idea.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Dowel%20Guides/TapInDowel.jpg

I found a tap that would easily go into the dowel, with distorting it too much. I only made a very few turns, just enough so that a bolt SHOULD be able to hold it.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Dowel%20Guides/Dowel001.jpg

I used a slide-puller that was threaded for 3/8-16(?) & took off the original tool. I got a 3/8 long coupler & welded a bolt onto the end, same thread as the tap I used.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Dowel%20Guides/Dowel002.jpg

Screwed the welded up tool into the dowel,

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Dowel%20Guides/CameraDump007.jpg

and pulled away. All four dowels came out very easy - surprising, but appreciated.

And with that, the block was ready for insert installation.

Cheers,
Steve

Faded Crest
04-11-12, 01:59 AM
I feel your (financial) pain Steve... We are at just about at the same place. I didn't catch a break anywhere either. I think it will all go back together easy though. Getting and paying for all the unplanned-for parts is the slow part for me!

Marc

Submariner409
04-11-12, 10:52 AM
With your acquisition of some specialized Northstar engine tools, perhaps you could pay a few more bucks and set up some sort of vendor operation in CF and rent the tools to others who tackle this task..........

eyewonder
04-11-12, 11:12 AM
That (rental of tools) sounds like it may be a good idea. I just hate getting rid of good tools! And besides, with the next installment of this adventur, I relate how this has changed from a 'repair' into an 'experiment'. I may be needing the tools myself, again.

Cheers,
Steve

Faded Crest
04-11-12, 11:36 AM
Steve, I was wondering... If you are enjoying the process, that is... If you were thinking ahead about maybe doing another one after this project is complete? It almost seems a shame to gain all this experience, (and tools) and do just one head gasket job. As a friend of mine says, "experience is what you get just after you needed it." The only way to really benefit from the experience you gain is to do it again.

Faded Crest
04-11-12, 11:48 AM
And speaking of tools, do you have this one, Steve? I wasn't aware of this tool at all until I was kicking around on ebay yesterday.

89769

http://www.ebay.com/itm/390386624803?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649#ht_1647wt_905

ternstes
04-11-12, 02:39 PM
That tool looks like it is for locking the cams in place while you put the chains on? It should save you some time, but it is not necessary. Wow, and for $50, just keep your money. Timing this engine is fairly simple with the engine out of the car.

eyewonder
04-11-12, 07:08 PM
I don't have a set of the 'official' cam holding tools, but I made one at the shop. Have not had a chance to try it out yet, but it was pretty easy machining. I'll check my dimensions by putting in both cams in a head, without rockers, etc, so I can judge how close my gustimates of dimensions were.

If they are way off, it's pretty easy to make a couple more that are closer.

Cheers,
Steve

I WANNA-V
04-12-12, 06:15 PM
An old Jag mechanic once explained the air dam to me and and I will try to explain it now. With the engine taking up so much space in the engine compartment there is not enough room for the air that needs to pass through the radiator to escape the engine compartment. Putting an air dam on creates a low pressure area under the car allowing the higher pressure air passing through the rad to escape easier.

I believe him because replacing the one I broke on my XJ6 V12 years ago solved my overheating problem.

Looks like you are doing a great job eyewonder

eyewonder
04-12-12, 07:32 PM
Speaking of XJ-6's, back-in-the-day I put a Tuned Port 350 into an '80 XJ-6, using a conversion kit from John's Cars, in Dallas. Which make it an 'XJ-350'. Compared to my investment now, I got away cheap with that project.

Cheers,
Steve

CadillacLuke24
04-12-12, 10:03 PM
:rolleyes: Reckon that was a little livelier than the factory powerplant :D

eyewonder
04-13-12, 09:49 PM
It was now time to start working on the block. I, like most others, had wanted one-piece studs, but that was not to be. My only viable alternative was Norm's inserts. I have not heard any bad reports on their use, so that was my choice. Norm's inserts can accommodate either GM head bolts (Torque-to-yield) or ARP studs, but you must specify which BEFORE ordering, as there are differences. Both choices have the block drilled & tapped exactly the same.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/CameraDump024.jpg

This is the alignment jig on the block, with the alignment pin centered in the hole to be drilled & tapped. The jig is clamped in place using an old tapped hole and an old head bolt.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/CameraDump025.jpg

The supplied drill bit to be used, setting in the bushing that is used for both the alignment pin & drill.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/CameraDump029.jpg

After drilling on that hole is complete, change the drill bushing for the tap bushing. Start with the pipe tap - three flutes. This tap cuts the threads not quite to the end of the tap. The kit comes with a can of 'Tap Magic for Aluminum' when tapping. It is probably not the 'preferred' lubricant, but WD-40 would also work - its what we use at the machine shop where I work. If necessary to get more depth for the insert, use the 4-flute bottom tap, but this is only for the last little bit of hole to be tapped. Follow directions for frequent backing out, cleaning & lubricating of the tap.

After completing a hole, move to the next. When you get to holes that used to have the alignment dowels, you follow the same procedure, but when tapping you will be cutting threads in the smooth wall that held the dowel. That's OK, as the dowel will still have to be pressed in, and will remain centered. And remember, the dowels are there to align the head on the block. And the fit in the head is loose enough to allow easy lowering of the head onto the block.

When I got to the last hole to be drilled, there were no more 'old' tapped holes to have the head bolt thread into to clamp the fixture. No problem, you have a bag of inserts, so use one. Dry thread it in to a depth that will allow an old head bolt to be used to hold the fixture. Drill & tap as with the other holes.

Now repeat for the other bank.

As I drilled each hole, I was monitoring the chips that came out. I did not find any 'powder' instead of chips, so I was fairly happy. Visually checking each hole after tapping was complete, I found some very small voids in a couple of holes, maybe the size of a round pin head, but nothing drastic. I can live with that.

But, I seem to have overtapped one hole, though. A test fit of a stud/insert allowed more movement that I would have liked. I talked with Norm about this, and he sent me a replacement set of inserts, no charge. There was some improvement, but my acceptance was likely mostly due to my confidence level increasing, so it was still a 'GO' on the project.

As I said, the inserts are different when using original GM head bolts vs ARP studs.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/CameraDump020.jpg

This is a shot of what a regular insert would look like - except it would have slots cut for using the 'T' handle tool. I just inserted one of my modified inserts to show the thread

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/CameraDump019.jpg

This shot shows how the inserts are counter-bored to accept the ARP studs. BTW, the ARP studs for this 2000 application are their part # 141-4204.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/Studs003.jpg

And here is a close-up of the end of the stud. Notice the hex pocket in the end? Very handy to use an allen wrench to insert/remove the studs.

At this point I mated up all the studs with inserts, and did a dry insertion just to make sure all bolt holes were clear. So far, so good.

And this is where I deviated from the instructions included with the insert kit. The instructions have you inserting the inserts to a specific depth below the head, based on upper or lower bank, without any checking of how much thread was left above the head surface that gets clamped by the nut/washer on the stud.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/BlockStud.jpg

I wanted to make sure that I had at least 2 complete threads (20 TPI for the stud, .050" for each thread, 2 threads = .100") showing above the nut, when things were done. I measured both heads, both upper & lower banks, and used the thickest recorded dimension as my calculation point. The ARP washer/nut combination was .625". The new, uncompressed head gasket measure .075", and the old one was .065".

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/CameraDump022.jpg

To make sure the inserts would go to the correct depth in all holes, I made two marks on a stud, depicting where the stud/insert combo should be even with the block surface, either upper or lower. And then ran them into all holes.
Again, so far, so good.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/Studs002.jpg

To make the final (with locktite) inserting go as easy as possible, I cut two pieces of couduit to the calculated distance from the block to top of stud. One length for the upper, one for the lower group of studs. This way I could use my allen wrench, & screw the stud/insert combo flush with the top of the conduit, and that would be as good as I could get it. Note that there was more than one sanity check/dry run/double check/re-measure that I have not documented here. And that was verified after all inserts were completed (including the repair) by setting the heads on the block, inserting all studs, and checking stud height above the head surface.

Cautionary note here - be sure you don't get the locktie on the insert/stud combo - the studs are intended to be finger tight. Feeling good, it was off to bed, the actual final insertion for the next day.

OK, show time.
#1 - OK
#2 - OK
#3 - OK
#4 - OK
#5 - OK
#6 - OK

#7 - OH SHIT!

Did I mention that I did another dry run before starting this final insertion? I'm still at a loss to know what went wrong, but it did. I was probably half way to the intended depth when the force required to turn my allen wrench started increasing. Another half turn & it locked up. Reversed the allen wrench in the stud, and as expected, the stud came out of the insert. Trying to use the 'T' wrench got nowhere, except for a slightly bent wrench.

Oh well. # 8 thru #20 went as expected. After that it was 'an adult beverage' (or two) and off to bed. Maybe the tooth fairy would fix it by the time I woke up. No such luck.

Well, it was either a new block, or try to get the old insert out. Initial easy-out didn't work. So next step was to try to drill it out. I used the drill included in the kit, and went OK for a while, then it grabbed & locked up too! Reversed the drill and that wouldn't release! They say karma is a b*!&h - I must have been a bad person in a previous life. I kept going forward & reverse with the drill, and finally it came loose, and brought a piece of the insert out with it. THANK YOU! It looked just like pulling a heli-coil out.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Inserts/CameraDump074.jpg

I eventually got all of the old insert out, with a lot of pulling, picking with small tools, and finally chasing the threads in the block with the tap originally used. Did the finished product look as good as before? No. But it looked good enough, and the extra insert that Norm so thoughtfully includes in his kit went in, and felt secure enough that I did a final installation of that insert, with locktite. So, instead of having all 20 inserts go in with no heartburn, I have two that were not 'perfect'.

With those caveats, I now designate this engine as EXPERIMENTAL. Which is OK, as I built & flew my own experimental aircraft, and lived to till the tale, so this is nothing new.

So much for the drama & the trauma. More to come later.

Cheers,
Steve

Faded Crest
04-13-12, 10:27 PM
Yikes! I almost wish I hadn't even read the above post. That's scary.

Steve, when you said you "overtapped a hole"... how did you do that and how can it be avoided?

maeng9981
04-14-12, 12:09 AM
Very nice.... these projects sure do educate a lot, it did for me. Looking at these pictures tell me the next thing I need to learn & tackle (lower half). The one thing I know, as much as every other "mechanics" hate working on Northstars, I like the Northstar projects and I will be doing many more in the future.

The cam holding tool pictured above.... I used a piece of printer paper under one bearing cap. Worked like charm, spent $0.

eyewonder
04-14-12, 01:02 AM
Yikes! I almost wish I hadn't even read the above post. That's scary.

Steve, when you said you "overtapped a hole"... how did you do that and how can it be avoided?

How did I screw-the-pooch? Don't know the answer to that question. Everything seemed to be the same as I progressed through the holes, but the trauma seems to have dulled the memory (or my mind). It could have been not enough taping fluid, not enough retracts & chip cleaning, trying to go too fast, any of the above, or something else. I just don't know what the cause was.

So right now, I am just living with the designation: EXPERIMENTAL.

And of course, I will update everyone to the condition after startup, @1000 miles, and @5000 miles.

Cheers,
Steve

Faded Crest
04-14-12, 01:12 AM
Well Steve, you have just insured that I will probably take all day when I drill & tap.

CadillacLuke24
04-14-12, 03:19 AM
Slow and steady wins the race...

eyewonder
04-15-12, 12:30 PM
Notes on the alignment dowels.

Because of the method I used to set the depth of the inserts, I wanted to make sure that the alignment dowels did not prevent the head from fully compressing the gasket, when the heads were finally torqued down.

I measured how far down into the block they would go, and how deep the bore in the head was. I ended up taking off .2" from all dowels. To make sure there was no clearance problems, I set both heads on the block, without any head gasket, and confirmed that the heads were contacting the block. And all was as expected.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
05-08-12, 09:38 PM
Its been quite a while since my last progress report. I had been waiting to complete my building of an ultrasonic cleaner, to use on the pistons. This shot is representative of what all the pistons looked like, after 170,000 miles.
http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Pistons/Pistons_dirty005.jpg

I finally got the ultrasonic cleaner project finished, and working. I first tested this contraption on one piston, using regular petroleum solvent in the ultrasonic cleaner. I let it run for several hours. It cleaned the piston up some, but not to the extent that I wanted. My next step was to take all the pistons out to the car wash. One roll of quarters later, this is what I got.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Pistons/IMG_1570.jpg

I probably could have stopped there, but I really wanted clean pistons for the new rings (and bearings, and bolts, etc). I got a gallon of Berryman carb cleaner, and used that in the ultrasonic cleaner. Now THIS is what I wanted!

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Pistons/IMG_1569.jpg

All the pistons now looked that that. So on with the new rings, with the gap orientation called out in the fsm, using an old piston ring expander I have been carrying around for way too many years. I set all the almost ready pistons/rods aside.

I next installed the new main bearings, then the recently polished & mic'd crank. It spun very easily in the inverted block.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Pistons/IMG_1575.jpg

I set some plasti-gage in place, installed the other half of the bearings in the lower case, and cinched everything up per the fsm. Checking all the bearings I got 4 bearings showing .002", and one that was .0025" (best I could read the plasti-gage).

Looking good so far, so its time to put in the pistons. Installed the new bearings in the rod, and laid out the new con rod bolts. Wrapped heavy paper around the open end of con rod so as not to ding the cylinder wall, then installed the piston using my 'newest favorite tool', the tapered piston ring compressor. Remembering the struggle I had in years past using the then available tools, I will probably never use anything but tapered ring compressors again.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Pistons/P1010098.jpg

I installed pistons 1 & 2 this way, laid out more plasti-gage, and torqued the rods (using the old bolts and my other 'newest favorite tool' the Kent-Moore Torque Angle Meter). The plasti-gage showed .001". Good to go. Installed the new con rod bolts, & torqued em down. Repeated for pistons 3 & 4, clearance again showing .001".

In the process of doing pistons 5 & 6 I happened to look at the mating surface of one of the con rods, and did not like what I saw. It looked like a crack from the edge of the bolt hole, out to the edge. I tried getting a good photo, but was unable to get anything clear enough to see. Also, the mating surfaces were not smooth as I expected. I broke out the magnifying glasses & took a close look. There was NOT a matching crack showing in the bolt hole, or on the outside surface of the rod. So my presumption is that this was a casting/forging flash, and not a failure of the rod. After all, it had been staying intact for 170,000 miles. So onward & upward with the rest of the pistons.

The lower case went on without too much trouble, but I was a bit messy with the Ultra Gray. It took a bit or work to get all the Ultra Gray out of the oil drain back holes. I finally got all that buttoned up, ready for the oil pan the next day (this was all on Sunday). It was a long weekend, for this novice.

Monday at work I kept thinking about the engine - crank spun freely, main bearing clearances OK, rod bearing clearances .001" (for throws 1 & 2) - but I don't have records for throws 3 & 4. Shirley I couldn't have - no way! Its all together and ready for the pan. And I definitely don't want to disassemble it again.

After work I just HAD to check it out. The oil scraper has come convenient holes, so I rotated the crank so I could get a socket & extension on the rod cap bolts. HOLY EXPLETIVES DELETED!!! Bolts for rods 5, 6, 7 & 8 were only finger tight. Only thing I can figure is that my worry over the casting flash completely distracted me. Much better to find out now, rather than having the engine explode - which it certainly would have.

I have a new oil distribution plate on the way, but it does bring up a question for me. This picture is of my original plate, after I pulled out the silicone gasket.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Oil%20Manifold/Bare.jpg

The resealing procedure called out is:

42. Using a NEW oil distribution plate, plate a 3 mm (0.118 in) wide bead (1) of RTV sealant, P/N 12378521 (in Canada, use P/N 88901148) or the equivalent, around the perimeter of the outer seal of the oil distribution plate place.
43. Ensure the RTV sealant, P/N 12378521 (in Canada, use P/N 88901148) or the equivalent, bead is inboard of all the oil pan bolt holes.


There seems to be very little 'plate' left outside the gasket groove, almost not enough to hold a bead of Ultra Gray. And it will almost certainly be getting into the bolt holes. Do you want to have any of the sealer contact the new silicone gasket? It doesn't look like it is possible to avoid contamination. Just to make sure I understand where it is supposed to go, the next picture has a yellow line part way around the plate where the Ultra Gray should be applied. Is that the path I want for the sealer?

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Oil%20Manifold/Hi-Lited.jpg

And the oil pan has NO GASKET - just Ultra Gray? Is that right?

Cheers,
Steve

rodnok01
05-08-12, 09:50 PM
Pistons look good, any reason you didn't have an engine shop hot tank em?

eyewonder
05-08-12, 09:55 PM
Pistons look good, any reason you didn't have an engine shop hot tank em?

Most likely because I didn't think of it. I'm also going to use the ultrasonic cleaner on other projects.

Cheers,
Steve

Faded Crest
05-08-12, 11:54 PM
Looks like you're back in business Steve! Looking good! :thumbsup:

bill buttermore
05-09-12, 12:10 AM
Thanks for posting this information, Steve. I have been thinking about most of the stuff you have just posted. How did Norm's drill work? Were the holes easy to drill - did the drill grab - was the bushing tight enough in your opinion? I kept thinking of Norm's centering tool as I struggled with a plate that would not align.

eyewonder
05-09-12, 12:27 AM
Bill,

It's off to bed for now, but I will reply tomorrow.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
05-09-12, 08:43 PM
Pistons look good, any reason you didn't have an engine shop hot tank em?

Another thought - the hot tank chemicals used for cast iron blocks will eat up aluminum, I believe.

Cheers,
Steve

----------


Thanks for posting this information, Steve. I have been thinking about most of the stuff you have just posted. How did Norm's drill work? Were the holes easy to drill - did the drill grab - was the bushing tight enough in your opinion? I kept thinking of Norm's centering tool as I struggled with a plate that would not align.

Bill,

I found it very easy to use Norm's alignment jig. I am completely comfortable with that system getting the drill & tap going in perpendicular to the block, centered over the old hole. I like the idea of the tough steel bushing slipping into the holder, and using the guide pin to align to each hole, then clamping the holder in place. Norm has a set screw on the side of the holder, to keep the bushing from rotating. I ended up grinding a small flat on the bushings, to make it easier to have the bushing not rotate. The fit of the bushings to holder was quite good - it didn't allow for any slop that I could feel.


The drill bit did not do any unexpected things, mostly what I expected when enlarging an already drilled/tapped hole. Of course it would have a completely different feel going through a solid hunk of aluminum.

So .... if (when?!) I do another HG project, I will try to get a set of Jake's studs, but will probably use Norm's alignment fixture. I know, I know, I'll probably be pilloried for the sacrilege, but I do like Norm's procedure.

Cheers,
Steve

bill buttermore
05-09-12, 10:42 PM
I found it very easy to use Norm's alignment jig. I am completely comfortable with that system getting the drill & tap going in perpendicular to the block, centered over the old hole. I like the idea of the tough steel bushing slipping into the holder, and using the guide pin to align to each hole, then clamping the holder in place. Norm has a set screw on the side of the holder, to keep the bushing from rotating. I ended up grinding a small flat on the bushings, to make it easier to have the bushing not rotate. The fit of the bushings to holder was quite good - it didn't allow for any slop that I could feel.


The drill bit did not do any unexpected things, mostly what I expected when enlarging an already drilled/tapped hole. Of course it would have a completely different feel going through a solid hunk of aluminum.

So .... if (when?!) I do another HG project, I will try to get a set of Jake's studs, but will probably use Norm's alignment fixture. I know, I know, I'll probably be pilloried for the sacrilege, but I do like Norm's procedure.

Cheers,
Steve Thanks for the feedback, Steve. Norm's tooling just looked very well-made. I am glad to know that it worked so well for you. And, I would agree that Norm's tools should work great with Jake's studs.

Ranger
05-09-12, 10:51 PM
I know, I know, I'll probably be pilloried for the sacrilege, but I do like Norm's procedure.

Cheers,
Steve
Nah, whatever works.

eyewonder
05-12-12, 07:32 PM
I'm needing advise from experienced N* engine builders ....

Last weekend I discovered that I had not torqued all the con rod bolts. I was also not totally happy with my job of RTV'ing (actually using Ultra Grey) on the lower case & oil distribution plate, so I decided to take the lower case half off, and re-reseal everything. The new distribution plate came in late this week, and I just took apart the lower case.

The first thing I noticed was that when removing the 20 main cap bolts, the force required to break them loose was MUCH less that when I first took the engine apart. That first time, I heard most, if not all the bolts make a 'crack' sound as they released, and that required a lot more force that the new ones (btw, I used new GM main cap bolts for this) I had installed last weekend. I'm pretty certain that on these bolts, I did torque them correctly, using a Kent-Moore Torque Angle Meter.

So the question is: should the new bolts have taken as much force to remove as the old ones? Was the lower case not fully seated when I torqued? Or was this in the normal range of things to be expected?

The next question involves the curing of the Ultra Grey. Much of the RTV was still uncured that was not squished directly between two flat surfaces. Example is the 'U' channel in the main block that used to hold the silicone gasket, it was still gooey. I presume that it will cure after the engine has run - correct?

The last question involves the con rod bolts. These were new GM bolts. Rods for cyl 1, 2, 3, & 4 were torqued to spec with the plasti-gage in place to check clearance, and the clearance recorded. When that was done they were again torqued to spec. (And that is when I somehow got distracted enough to forget to torque rods for cyl 5, 6, 7 & 8). Is there any issue with releasing the bolts on the rods that were already properly torqued? That would be 3 times those bolts were torqued. The reason I am considering this is for peace of mind. I will record each cyl as its rod is torqued, and have another way to check myself.

Thanks for the help along the way, and the support given.

Cheers,
Steve

rodnok01
05-12-12, 08:18 PM
The old bolts were seized a little and prob assembled dry to begin with, not unusual. If you're confident you torqued them correctly I wouldn't worry about them.
I'd reuse the rod bolts too, not ideal but you're not building a 800hp turbo drag racer either.

Faded Crest
05-12-12, 09:17 PM
^^^I don't think he took the rod bolts loose. I think he's talking about the main bolts... But I agree, the originals were probably seized from heat cycles. If you torqued it right, then it should be fine.

I had the same kind of question when I replaced a cam on my '98 ESC. The torque specs called for just 12 ft. lbs. for the cam bearing caps. I had a hard time believing it could be right because they were so tight breaking loose, but it was right.

JoeTahoe
05-12-12, 09:45 PM
you will be fine on the bolts, the gasket maker useuly doesnt do that how long did it sit before you took it apart??

eyewonder
05-12-12, 10:22 PM
you will be fine on the bolts, the gasket maker useuly doesnt do that how long did it sit before you took it apart??

I used Permatex Ultra Grey for the gasket sealer. It had been 6 days (last Sunday to today, Saturday) since I put it together. Note that it was only gooey in the middle of the channel - it had set up as expected where it oozed out the side of the block/lower case, and on the flat mating surfaces between the block/lower case.

And on the bolts, both con rod & main bolts were new. To clarify the status of the con rod bolts: con rod bolts for cyl 5, 6, 7 & 8 are new, and were never torqued. Con rod bolts for cyl 1, 2, 3 & 4 are new, were torqued for plasti-gage check, then re-torqued to spec.


Cheers,
Steve

JoeTahoe
05-12-12, 10:45 PM
did you use Right Stuff® Grey It has a set time of 5min. this is the only non GM sealant I would use on a half case and oil pan seal I perfer the GM stuff. But you cant mess around with either or it will skin over. you have about 15 min too assamble and torqe. I know this because i broke a calk gun half way threw and it was a pain to remove

eyewonder
05-12-12, 10:58 PM
Joe,

Chris @ Rippy suggested the Ultra Grey, as that is what all his guys use. I have one tube of the actual GM sealer, but I don't think that is enough to do both half-case & oil plate.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
05-20-12, 12:41 PM
Sub, Ranger, Jake....

Looking for advise on connecting rod bolts.

I just finished torquing the connecting rod bolts on my 2000 STS. Brand-new, never-been-torqued GM bolts. I followed the procedure in the FSM - oil on rod bolts, torque to 22 lbs-ft, back to 0, torque to 18 lbs-ft, then additional 110 degrees using the Kent-Moore Torque Angle Meter.

On most of the bolts, I could feel that the effort I had to put into the breaker bar steadily, smoothly, increased right up to the 110 degree stopping point. On a couple of the bolts, it seemed like the effort required for the last 15-20 degrees was NOT increasing. It did not feel like the the threads were stripped & ready to go to zero effort, but it was enough different than the others that I thought it wise to seek advise.

Cheers,
Steve

Ranger
05-20-12, 10:34 PM
:noidea: I gotta pass on this one.

tateos
05-21-12, 09:12 PM
Steve - I had a hell of a time loosening the crankshaft damper bolt - when I installed a new one, it was so easy, that I loosened it and then re-did it - still didn't feel very tight, but it worked out fine. Like others have written, I think some of this is due to dry threads and many years sitting under tension. I had 1 head bolt that stopped feeling tighter as I turned it. I turned it a little more and it snapped. Rock Auto sent me a free replacement set of 10 head bolts for that bank - all 10 replacements felt tighter as they should. Rock Auto felt I had received a defective head bolt. I don't know that correlates to your rod bolts...or not...

eyewonder
05-21-12, 09:52 PM
Well,

As I stated in some previous post ... this IS an experiment, at least for me. Hopefully not a financially painful one.

So its on with the show. I have the bottom end, including oil pan, all buttoned up, no sensors installed, yet. The cam covers have been sandblasted - ready for my attempts at powder-coating. Next will be getting the engine off the stand, to put in the rear main seal. I will be attempting to make a video of that process. If that goes well, I'll have the link here.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
05-24-12, 03:38 PM
I have installed the new, genuine GM rear main seal, and have two videos of the process. The first video is just showing the tools used, and verbally describing how they will be used.

The second video shows the actual installation.

That is, of course, IF I can get the videos to show up here.

Of note is that I decided to not use the rear main seal that came with the Victor-Reinz gasket set. The OD of the inner metal flange(?) that gets seated on the inner installation tool was bigger than the GM seal. With steps machined into the outer seal installation tool, it allowed the GM seal to set into the first step, which is where I think it should be, but the Victor-Reinz was larger in diameter, and would not seat into the step. It looked like that was going to make a difference on how deep the two seals would end up, in the block.

A deeper seating seal (Victor-Reinz) would come closer to (but probably NOT) blocking the oil drain back hole in the lower case. Just another reason to use GM.

The case-half reseal thread http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-tech-tips/117232-case-halves-reseal-fwd-rtv-sealant.html called out some dimensions to check after seal installation, but it was too small to get a real idea of what they were looking for. The outer most (diameter) viton portion of my seal is now flush with the block, and the metal flange/sleeve is seated on the crankshaft. So I'm OK with that seating.

Now, this is the first video of tool demonstration:

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Rear%20Seal%20Removal%20Installation/th_RearSealPart1.jpg (http://s1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/Rear%20Seal%20Removal%20Installation/?action=view&current=RearSealPart1.mp4)

And this is the actual installation:

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/th_WinEX_Part2.jpg (http://s1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Cadillac%20STS/?action=view&current=WinEX_Part2.mp4)

Cheers,
Steve

PS I just tried viewing the videos (click them, and you will be sent to the photobucket site, and they should start), and they are not as smooth as I wanted, but you should be able to get the idea.

Faded Crest
05-24-12, 04:33 PM
Good video Steve! :thumbsup:

bill buttermore
05-24-12, 11:16 PM
Thanks for makin' those videos, Steve. Even I can understand how to do it now. Those three bolts on my seal installer have me scratching my head, though.....

eyewonder
05-24-12, 11:40 PM
Bill,

I think that the 3-bolt installer you have is for a different year motor, different style seal, but am not sure. Perhaps some of the experienced builders can clarify for you, and me too.

Cheers,
Steve

Faded Crest
05-24-12, 11:43 PM
As I understand it, the three bolt style installer is the 2nd design and works on 1996.5-1999 blocks.

bill buttermore
05-25-12, 01:40 AM
Maybe the three bolt holes are not equidistant. I know my crank has 8 bolts, so that would seem to be the only way it could work. I'll go have a look (goes to garage to check)... The holes are not equally spaced. It appears they will bolt up fine to the crank.

eyewonder
05-31-12, 08:42 AM
Do I really need a new front cover?

I'm working on the timing chain gears, tensioners, etc, and read ahead in the FSM. The FSM says to replace the entire front cover, as seals cannot be aligned properly. My Victor gasket set has a seal that looks to go in the front cover, so the question is: is there any reason NOT to put the new seal into the old cover?

Cheers,
Steve

bill buttermore
05-31-12, 09:02 AM
Do I really need a new front cover?

I'm working on the timing chain gears, tensioners, etc, and read ahead in the FSM. The FSM says to replace the entire front cover, as seals cannot be aligned properly. My Victor gasket set has a seal that looks to go in the front cover, so the question is: is there any reason NOT to put the new seal into the old cover?

Cheers,
SteveI'm planning on putting a new seal in mine. As you say, it's hard to imagine they would give you a new seal if it can't be changed.

eyewonder
05-31-12, 09:10 AM
Bill,

My thoughts also - I just wanted a little confirmation.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
06-03-12, 02:56 PM
I'm making progress on my project. Quite a while back, I reinstalled the cams onto the heads after they came back from the machine shop.

This is a shot of the newly machined head.
http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/Head-DAClem.jpg

This was my parts layout when I sent the heads off to be worked on.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/Head-apart.jpg

I reassembled all the SHLAs, rockers, cams, & cam bearing caps on the bench, where they had been stored. Torqued them down to spec, and let them rest on some cardboard. I had made up 2 cam holding tools, and used them to keep the cams on both heads at their zero-degree position, where they have been for several weeks.

In preparation for installing the heads I put #1 piston at TDC. I used the Victor-Reinz head gaskets, set the heads on the block, threaded (finger tight) the ARP studs into Norm's inserts, used ARP's included lube on the washers & nuts, and torqued to 85 lbs-ft, per ARP instructions. ARP has you going in 3 equal steps, so I went 30, 60, 85. No surprises during that process.

The next step was to install the timing chains, guides, & tensioners. The shoe for the primary chain tensioner had been worn completely through on part of it, so a new one is going in. The other shoes showed grooves, but not so much as to warrant replacement.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/WornTensioner.jpg

The worn tensioner.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/NewTensioner.jpg

The new tensioner, and timing chains in place (photo was taken after my below-related-adventures).

To get the cams aligned on the chains with the crank sprocket, I needed to break loose the sprockets on the end of the cams. I ended using an impact wrench to get them loose. I finally got satisfied with the chains, sprockets, and alignment and needed to torque the cam sprockets. All three tensioners still had their plunger-retract pins in place, so there was the maximum amount of slack in all chains. The cams have a hex cast onto them, so I used a 15/16" wrench to hold the cam, while I attempted to tighten the sprocket bolt to specs (90 lbs-ft!). I wasn't able to hold the cam in place by hand, but did manage to make the chain skip a couple of teeth over the sprocket - remember, the tensioners were still held in their retracted position. OK, go through the alignment procedure, again, then figure a way to hold the cams in place while tightening the bolt.

This is when I found an 'oops' I had made several weeks back.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/GoodRollerRocker.jpg

The above is what I should have seen

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/BadRollerRocker.jpg

The above is what I actually saw - sorta. I did not get a picture of my actual problem, so I did some very crude photo editing to show that the cup portion of one rocker had not seated on the SHLA when I had reassembled the cams, back when. So I took that cam loose, put the rocker back where it was supposed to be, and re-torqued the cam saddle. And checked both heads, multiple times.

And after again getting chain timing/alignment that I liked, I did figure out a way to hold the cam in place.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/CamHolder.jpg

I used this technique, or some variation, to hold the cams while I torqued them to 90 lbs-ft, without skipping the chain over any sprockets this time. I then released all three tensioner retaining pins to allow them to extend. Everything looks good, so I rotated the crank several times, got back to my starting point, and checked all the timing alignments. The next three photos show the alignment that I now have.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/PrimarySprockets.jpg

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/LeftSprocket.jpg

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/RightSprocket.jpg

With all that done, the engine now looked like this:

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/HeadsOn1.jpg

All along I have wanted a clean, if not pretty, engine. Among many eye-sores were the valve covers. This next shot is typical of what both covers looked like, when they were removed.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/DirtyCover1.jpg

Having no monetary control, I had purchased a Harbor Freight powder coat system sometime during this adventure. And just so that it didn't go to waste, I used it on both covers. Definitely NOT a professional job, but it works for me.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-Assembly%205/RedCover.jpg

I'm now to the point of putting brackets, sensors, etc on the engine, and then figuring out how to hold it with my cherry picker, and mate it back up with the transaxle.

The one time I did drive the car before tearing it apart, I did a VERY short WOT run, and managed to shred the water pump belt. After the engine was apart, I could barely turn the pump by hand. So, new pump, new belt. Looking at the drive pulley that goes on the end of the cam, its grooves were mostly gone. So new pulley. Looking at the belt tensioner, its grooves were gone, too. New tensioner. It sure is fun spending money.

I have the front cover on, but no photos. The FSM says you MUST replace the entire cover, as the crankshaft dampener seal is not replaceable. The Victor Reinz gasket set had one included, so I pressed the old one out, and the new one in. I really don't see any problems with that.

So I am now re-energized for the project. I hate making promises (threats?) I can't keep, but it sure would be nice to be driving a Cadillac before summer (officially June 21?). At any rate, that's my goal.

Cheers,
Steve

bill buttermore
06-03-12, 03:47 PM
Lookin' good Steve. Thanks for the pix and the cam-holding trick. That will come in handy.

Faded Crest
06-03-12, 04:50 PM
Wow, you made some real progress seemingly all at once. So does it seem to be going back together fairly quickly?

eyewonder
06-03-12, 05:12 PM
Wow, you made some real progress seemingly all at once. So does it seem to be going back together fairly quickly?

It hasn't been all at once - I have been doing work, but not updating the thread.

I just got doing a compression test (same compression gauge we have all used, a time or 4), before ever running the engine, and am not sure whether the results are significant at this point - I sure hope they are NOT.

The engine was sitting on the stand, just a shown, with the tape over the intake removed. I installed the starter, & brought in a battery from a car. Turning the engine over about 3 or 4 compression strokes for each cylinder, I got the following:

#1 80
#2 60
#3 90
#4 75
#5 90
#6 80
#7 125
#8 70

Quite a bit of variation, and if these results had been on an engine that had been running, it would be time to make a boat anchor out of it.

I have never head of anyone doing a compression test after a rebuild but before actually running it, so I have no data to base an opinion on. My hope is that with the new, un-broken-in rings, and SHLA's sitting for so long, and maybe leaked-down, that it will all be OK when its running.

Wish me luck, boys.

Cheers,
Steve

Faded Crest
06-03-12, 05:21 PM
I think you'll be okay once everything seats and breaks in. It will be interesting to see the compression after running it for a couple weeks.

bill buttermore
06-03-12, 07:56 PM
The only time I have had good compression results on the stand was when I had a re-bore, new pistons, rings, and a new head. The one I remember was a 5SFE Toyota that came pretty close to listed compression on all 4. But, I would definitely not be concerned in your case until it has run for a while and you test it at temperature.

walliss34
06-08-12, 02:26 PM
Maybe i will do a compression test too on mine before i put everything back together, i just got the left bank done last night so i will get the right side done tomorrow and post the compression results from a motor that was only torn down to the heads, actually the more i think about it, its a good idea to test before you put everything back together and in the car, only to find something funky with the valve train, headgaskets, or timing. Thanks Bill!

vincentm
06-08-12, 06:12 PM
welcome to the Red Valve cover club lol!

Faded Crest
06-08-12, 07:11 PM
At the junkyard today I saw a Northstar that was so clean that I'm considering going back just for the valve/cam covers.

eyewonder
06-08-12, 07:51 PM
At the junkyard today I saw a Northstar that was so clean .....

Did Bill get rid of his engine, and did it migrate to the yard? I mean, his is so clean that I am almost ashamed of the appearance of mine.

So Bill, quit posting pictures of your gorgeous engine!

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
06-10-12, 10:56 PM
Before I begin the update, I need to vent a little frustration - not to anyone on the forum, but to the state of the economy, in general. As exemplified by gaskets for overhauling engines.

When I had ordered & paid for the gasket sets, I was a little surprised at the cost, vs what was included. Oh well, ya gotta have em. Somehow I managed to loose one of the rubber grommets that go in the cam cover. Dang, I'll probably have to buy a set of 18, just for the one I lost. Checking GMPartsGiant, it looked like it was going to cost me about $9. So when I got to the local dealer, he had one grommet - cool. Except that it was $9 - FOR ONE GROMMET! 18 grommets per engine, times $9 each is $160 just for the cam cover! Man, I must have not been paying attention to prices for the last 20 years. No, make that 30 years.

And getting ready to put the water cross-over back on, I couldn't find the 4 gaskets that are needed. I went through the gasket set boxes multiple times, and still no joy. So, again to a dealer, and $36 later, I have the gaskets I need.

Out of curiosity, did I loose them - as that is certainly possible? Or do the Victor gaskets sets not come with them?

OK, rant off.

With the engine back together, at least to the cam covers, it was time to mate it back up with the transaxle. The first issue was how to attach the cherry picker to the engine, without breaking anything, or dropping it. The plan I came up with was making two 1/8" thick plates, drilled for the bolt pattern on the heads, and use them as lifting brackets for chains to attach to.
http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Onto%20the%20cradle/Ontothecradle008.jpg

This is a shot of one of the plates I made. The two heads had different bolt patterns, so there is one specific for each end.

If I were to just hook a chain to the plates & lift with the picker, the plates would be pulled toward the center (front to back) of the engine, possibly breaking the head casting. To prevent that I came up with this:

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Onto%20the%20cradle/Ontothecradle007.jpg

It was piece of electrical conduit, cut at an angle so that it fit flush against the two plates. On each plate, I drilled a hole, put a 3/8" screw thru it, and let the conduit go over the head of the bolt, so that it would stay in place.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Onto%20the%20cradle/Ontothecradle009.jpg

And this is where I am at tonight. It did seem like quite a bit of trial and error for me to get the engine in, and the brackets aligned. In fact, I had the engine mated up once, but realized that I could not get to the right exhaust manifold nuts to tighten them. So out it came. I suspect that there is an easy way to do this, but perhaps I didn't read the FSM completely.

Tomorrow I will be pulling the front cover off, to check the oil pump. Bill B has me curious about O-rings, and its very easy at this point to check.

Cheers,
Steve

bill buttermore
06-10-12, 11:20 PM
Nah - don't do it, Steve. Your oil pump is fine. It's my understanding of stuff that's flawed!

And....neat lifting fixture.

Faded Crest
06-11-12, 08:51 AM
Very nice. Steve. I wonder if your lifting plates will work on older heads too. Certainly you will have to do another Northstar after this one now that you have all these tools, right?

eyewonder
06-11-12, 09:13 AM
Certainly you will have to do another Northstar after this one now that you have all these tools, right?

Yea, insanity seems to be present in my life. If not insanity, certainly obsessive/compulsive behavior! But I did show some restraint last month - a (according to the seller, I never did go look at it) very nice '97 STS exterior/interior, blown head gasket, was available abut 100 miles away for $500 And that offer from him was over the phone. So it certainly would have been possible to have another project in the works.

But I must confess, after spending the amount that I have on this project, money was a factor in the decision.

And this project isn't yet running, so I'm trying to do just one at a time. I mean, this is just one project that I have in the works - the current list of started-but-unfinished-projects is about 8.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
06-21-12, 11:51 PM
Watching Bill's progress has got me motivated, again. He is really a hard-charger. And I am very impressed with his not having any left-over nuts & bolts, and not having to go fetch any to make up for lost items. Wish I could say the same. So here are some pictures of the current condition.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Enjgine%20Re-assembly%201/Re-assemblyengine1003.jpg

Water cross-over in place.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Enjgine%20Re-assembly%201/Re-assemblyengine1004.jpg

Intake in place, fuel injectors installed.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Enjgine%20Re-assembly%201/Re-assemblyengine1005.jpg

Crank pulley installed, per spec. A 3-foot cheater helped!

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Enjgine%20Re-assembly%201/Re-assemblyengine1007.jpg

Starting to put some hoses/pipes in place. Uh-oh, slight problem. I did not save (or thought it was shot, and trashed it) the grommet in the cam cover for the PCV valve. GMPartsGiant says its not sold separately, but comes as part of the cam cover ($125). And when moving the plastic pipe, the rubber(?) connection from the pipe to the PCV valve also broke. As did the right-angle boot that goes to the throttle body, then to the other cam cover. Seems to be lots of brittle pieces on this 170,000 mile engine.

So does anyone have suggestions for getting a big grommet for the PCV valve, the rubber(?) connector for the pipe-to-PCV valve, and the right-angle boot that goes from the other cam cover to the throttle body?

And speaking of brittle, some of the wiring looks to have had regular electrical tape wrapped around it, and not the corrugated/split cable protectors usually used. Does anyone have a source for those? It sure would be better than the existing electrical tape.

And as long as I am begging for help, does anyone have part numbers/sources for the numerous plastic round cable guides that are used to hold wiring bundles in place?

Ideas are welcomed.

Cheers,
Steve

Submariner409
06-22-12, 08:35 AM
Grommets and hose - the Help! racks at any large parts store and NAPA. Any of those plastic pipes and angles can be replaced with equivalent ID rubber vacuum hose and plastic angles.

rodnok01
06-22-12, 06:54 PM
I get the corrogated wire loom at Harbor Freight, maybe northern tool too. Dirt cheap there but you can get at Napa and other places.

eyewonder
06-29-12, 10:47 PM
Sub,

Thanks for the suggestion about the HELP! parts. They had just enough to get me back to a comfort level.

With no more big parts to put on the engine, it was time to start with the wiring harness. It reminds me of what an octopus, whose mother got too close to Fukishima, might look like.

Just handling it, I had forgotten how very stiff& inflexible it was, is some sections. I really didn't want to feel like I was bending electrical conduit, so I unwrapped a few sections that were the worst. Underneath the split corrugated shell, the wire bundles were wrapped in what looks like black electrical tape.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Engine%20Harness%201/EngineHarness006.jpg

This is what it looked like after pulling all the old tape off. Not too bad, visually, but it was still quite rigid.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Engine%20Harness%201/EngineHarness007.jpg

Its not clear from this picture, but my finger is supporting the still rigid bundle. Examining the bundle, it appears that over the years, normal engine heat, exhaust fumes, oil, etc, had permeated everything, resulting in the individual wires being loosely bonded to each other, resulting in the entire bundle acting like one big wire (a little exaggeration). I worked the individual wires free from their neighbor, and after freeing all in a run, the bundle was now supple, as I had hoped for. The individual wires did NOT show evidence of being imbrittled. That made me comfortable with the overall condition of the wires running through the bundles.

So I started wrapping with my new black electrical tape, and then put the corrugated wire loom over it. I now had greatly improved flexibility of the whole harness assembly. I used that process with several, but not all sections. On some of the new sections I used black loom, on other sections I used some blue - no rhyme or reason, just that blue was the only non-black color on the shelf, when I was there.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Engine%20Harness%201/EngineHarness014.jpg

This is a shot of my finished harness before going on the engine.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Engine%20Harness%201/EngineHarness015.jpg

And this is with it on the engine. Not all connectors are mated, yet, but I want to get the harness positioned so that there is no undue stress on any connector.

I added oil, and filter, and have been toying with the idea of spinning the engine while its still on the garage floor, to prime the oil system. Anyone have strong thoughts on the advisability of doing this?


So tomorrow I should be done with the wiring on the engine. And maybe this weekend, dropping the car.


Cheers,
Steve

bill buttermore
06-30-12, 01:17 AM
...I added oil, and filter, and have been toying with the idea of spinning the engine while its still on the garage floor, to prime the oil system. Anyone have strong thoughts on the advisability of doing this?
I like the idea of making sure the engine is primed before you start it up. As long as the pan is full and filter is installed, I can see no harm. Did you fill the filter with oil? That will speed the flow to the heads. You will want to keep the plugs out to minimize strain on the starter. And, by just hooking up to the starter leads and ground, you will avoid setting all those codes that you will get if you do the same after the harness and battery are connected in the vehicle.

Nice work on the harness. I was happy to just get most of mine hooked up. Don't forget the vehicle speed sensor!

eyewonder
07-01-12, 03:08 PM
I have all the engine sensors connected, but have not yet ty-wraped the bundles in place. There are still some piping & hoses that might be best done in the car, but am not sure. I'll have a look at the empty engine compartment & see if it looks like it would make any difference.

I did an 'engine oil pump prime' while everything was still easily accessible in case some other work (hopefully not) was indicated by the engine turning over. The engine turned over more smoothly than when I did the compression test a while back. After ~5-10 seconds of cranking, the engine actually started turning faster (not a lot, but enough to notice) - which I attribute to oil actually being pumped through the system & lubricating things like it is supposed to. In total, I spun the engine for 30-40 seconds. That should be enough to have things pre-lubed, for the initial start-up.

One thing that is bugging me is my ability to see the oil level on the dip-stick. Full new oil filter, 7 quarts of Valvoline Premium Conventional 10-30, and I can hardly tell where the oil is on the stick. Anybody have any tips - other than waiting for it to get dirty?

Spark Plugs. FSM says 11 lbs-ft, with no mention of anti-seize. That seems counter-intuitive (no anti-seize), but I'll go with the FSM, unless there is compelling reason to do otherwise.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
07-01-12, 04:53 PM
After the 'test oil pump prime', there was oil on the garage floor, under the cradle. WTF? Did I forget something (important)?

Turns out it was not anything major. When cranking the engine, the transaxle was also turning, pushing a little tranny fluid out the lines that go to the cooler portion of the radiator.

Just something to look for, if you try this technique.

Cheers,
Steve

bill buttermore
07-01-12, 05:35 PM
I have always used anti-seize on spark plug threads on aluminum heads. It will not hurt a thing, FSM silence on the matter notwithstanding. But it will prevent galling and damage to the aluminum threads in the cylinder head upon removal.

eyewonder
07-01-12, 07:27 PM
There was a very old thread about this subject, by BelzeBob(?), who I think was a real Cadillac Engineer. In it, he posited that anti-seize made the threads slicker, thus allowing more torque to be applied than was intended, thus problems.

So with all this information, some of it conflicting, we are left with a choice. For now, I'm going with no anti-seize. If more current information comes my way, I can always pull the plugs out, & apply the anti-seize.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
07-01-12, 08:17 PM
OK, new problem. Going through my pile of parts, I came upon what looks like the seal that would be used on one of the electrical connectors. The problem is my baggie just has a question mark on it.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Unknown%20seal/Unknownconnectorseal002.jpg

So, needing some help on identifying where this baby goes. Before I get the cradle in the car.

Cheers,
Steve

89falcon
07-01-12, 10:12 PM
There was a very old thread about this subject, by BelzeBob(?), who I think was a real Cadillac Engineer. In it, he posited that anti-seize made the threads slicker, thus allowing more torque to be applied than was intended, thus problems.

So with all this information, some of it conflicting, we are left with a choice. For now, I'm going with no anti-seize. If more current information comes my way, I can always pull the plugs out, & apply the anti-seize.

Cheers,
Steve

If yo look at the old threads, the cadillac engineers denied there was a problem with blown headgaskets.........I ALWAYS use anti-seize on aluminum heads....and the northstar has PLENTY of spark plug thread.......I don't think I've ever heard of one stripping........but with new plugs lasting 100k....you may never need to replace them again anyway.

98eldo32v
07-01-12, 11:03 PM
That seal looks like it could be for the TPS possibly.

CadillacLuke24
07-01-12, 11:29 PM
:yeah: Some sort of electrical sensor. ^That guy would know way better. Antiseize is cheap insurance if you're like me, and an afterthought if not. That is, if you are going to keep the vehicle for a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time, then use it. if not, and you think it unecessary, then don't.

eyewonder
07-02-12, 10:02 PM
OK, new problem. Going through my pile of parts, I came upon what looks like the seal that would be used on one of the electrical connectors. The problem is my baggie just has a question mark on it.

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Unknown%20seal/Unknownconnectorseal002.jpg


Cheers,
Steve

Found it! This gasket/seal goes on the 3-pin sensor for AC pressure(?) at the AC Compressor.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
07-04-12, 06:40 PM
Well, no excuses not to put it in. Here are some sequential shots, with the last showing where I stopped tonight.
The steering gear coupling went in MUCH easier (for me) than it came out. The new boot I had to order was a breeze to put in. Very few problems getting it back in. After fussing with aligning the cradle, I read the FSM & saw where they suggested using alignment dowels thru the cradle & up to the body, between each of the two support pads on the back side of the cradle. That would have made things much easier. Well, I'll know better, next time.

Next to come will be putting all the connectors to the wheel well area. Oops, I didn't do as good a job of photographing & marking the connectors as I thought. Live & learn.

So, I hope to light it off sometime this weekend.

Cheers,
Steve

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-assembly%201/Re-installation1002.jpg

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-assembly%201/Re-installation1005.jpg

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-assembly%201/Re-installation1006.jpg

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-assembly%201/Re-installation1009.jpg

bill buttermore
07-04-12, 08:29 PM
Home stretch. Not long now.

CadillacLuke24
07-05-12, 01:55 AM
:woot:

Good for you! Another ultra Cadillac Northstar owner! Looks good :thumbsup: The old saying, "done right? do self.", really is true. All you guys on here do a kick ass job, and you are no exception Steve. FANTASTIC work! If you had a shop going and I need your services, I'd hire you last year :D. I really dig the valve covers. Those are SICK. Now go enjoy the fruits of your labor!

walliss34
07-05-12, 12:02 PM
Them valve covers do look sharp. Whole project looks nice and clean great job!

rodnok01
07-05-12, 10:39 PM
I agree, the vc's are awesome, still don't understand why GM didn't spruce them up from factory.

eyewonder
07-06-12, 07:48 PM
Brake lines connected (but not bled, yet), exhaust tightened, all wheel-well connectors secured, wheels on the ground, lug nuts torqued.

Engine top-side hoses, cables, radiator, AC yet to go.

T minus 24 hrs, and counting.

Cheers,
Steve

http://i1173.photobucket.com/albums/r582/eyewonder300/Re-assembly%201/Re-installation1.jpg

daveyhouse
07-06-12, 11:24 PM
tick tock tick tock. make the noise of the clock stop. its driving me crazy

eyewonder
07-07-12, 11:40 PM
At T-Plus 01, we had 'Failure to ignite' - thank goodness.

Spent the day putting all the remaining pieces back on the engine - several times, is too many cases.

Bleed the brakes? Yep, a lot easier with the wheels off, so off they came, again. Brakes were bled, good pedal feel, wheels back on, & torqued.

Reconnected the battery. BTW, how much current draw would be considered 'normal' with all systems operating as expected, when the vehicle is parked, lights off?

With these cars, should both tach & speedo needle do a full sweep to the full CW position, as part of the dash modules 'start-up' sequence? Mine do not, and I can't remember (4 months since I last drove the car - and that was the only time) if they used to.

Oh well, I can't think of anything else to do except 'kick the tires, and light the fire' - with a fire extinguisher close at hand, of course. Which is what I did (at least the first part). It did crank over, but no sound of a manly Northstar coming to life, just the smell of gasoline. Which is a 'not good' thing, as I have a very reduced sense of smell. I first looked at the quick connects (?) at the fuel rail. No signs of leaking there. Looking at the injectors, I saw a puddle of fuel near the injector for #1 cyl. OK, took a step back, and then saw that there was a voluminous quantity of fuel on the garage floor, below the engine.

Its late, I'm filthy, irritated, disappointed, hungry, & thirsty. This is a great time to quit for the day.

Tomorrow I'll start by pulling codes, to see if there are clues to that, and other problems.

Cheers,
Steve

eyewonder
07-08-12, 02:13 PM
Its alive. ITS ALIVE!! :)

I found the injector for #1 cyl had been knocked loose from the rail, even though it was seated in the intake OK. The valley where the starter lives was mostly full of raw fuel. I siphoned out what I could, then blew out what I could with the air hose.

Hooked everything back up, made sure I knew where my fire extinguisher was (Mr. paranoid, here), and turned the key. It fired up in less than 2 seconds. No unusual engine noises, so I was (very) happy. Turned it off after that short run. I'll check for leaking fluids, etc after lunch. If no problems, I'll put the few remaining body parts back on.

Before starting up this morning, I pulled codes, then reset all. Checked codes again (without starting) and found total of 4 current errors. One was a new one, about ambient air temp, which is probably because I did not have the hood latch brace in place, and I think thats were the temp sensor is. A very small issue. The other three codes were present when I got the car.

One suspension code C0662: 'Level control exhaust valve circuit low'.

Two PCM codes, both were present when I got the car.

PCM P0102: 'Mas Air Flow Sensor Circuit Low Frequency'. When I got the car, the original MAF connector was removed from the MAF, and stuffed in the PCM box, presumably for protection. I had thought that the MAF was bad, so had ordered (and now installed) a new re-man one. But same problem. So, thats going to be chasing down wiring problems.

PCM P0449: 'Evaporative Emission (EVAP) Vent Solenoid Control Circuit'. Don't know what to do about this one, yet.

So, things are looking up.

Cheers,
Steve

daveyhouse
07-08-12, 07:07 PM
Congrats, Glad to hear you got her running, and no extinguisher needed. Better safe than sorry.

I hope mine goes as smooth.

eyewonder
07-08-12, 10:23 PM
Its all back together, so I took it to the car wash to make her look presentable. Drove it around town, a few WOT blasts, temp gauge went one needle width past 12 O'Clock when just cruising @ 30 MPH, then back to 12 O'Clock.


A few miles on the highway at 65, some WOT-to-redline shifts just to check things out. Temp gauge stayed bang-on 12 O'Clock. Total of 20 miles now. I still have the on-going code issues, but other than that, it's pretty close to being declared 'done'.

The tires seemed out of balance, but that issue is outside of the 'head gasket' problem that started all this.

I'll post a few more times, as miles are accumulated, and problems resolved.

Thanks to all for the encouragement & information you have given me.

Cheers,
Steve

ktr-sb
07-08-12, 10:34 PM
Congrats. Best feeling in the world to get a project like this done.

bill buttermore
07-08-12, 10:47 PM
Congraulations, Steve. Well done.

eyewonder
07-12-12, 12:14 PM
At the end of this missive, I will humiliate myself by giving the total cost involved.


As of now, I'm happy with the engine. I still have electrical issues, and have a new power steering/trans cooler leak to find & fix, brake rotors to have turned, burnt-out light bulbs to replace, etc.

I kept very good track of my expenses throughout this project, and have broken it down in categories.

Head Gasket Repair Parts - basic. Includes the inserts, studs, gaskets, etc.......... $1106
Head Gasket Repair - optional. This was the (maybe not necessary) valve job....... $563
General Use Tools - required. Engine stand, jack stands, cradle dolly, etc............. $185

Short Block Rebuild Parts. Bearings, rings, bolts, gaskets, etc............................. $1253
Northstar Specific Tools. Rear seal installer, ring compressor, etc........................ $257
Misc services, supplies. Paint remover, solvent, clearer, etc............................... $275
Misc nuts, bolts, washers........................................... .................................. $91
.................................................. .................................................. ...........------
.................................................. .................................................. ...........$3730

Optional hands tools. Sockets sets, tool boxes, parts washer, etc....................... $1146
.................................................. .................................................. ........---------
.................................................. .................................................. ...........$4876
And that of course doesn't include the cost of the car.
Yep, sure glad this is a hobby, and not subject to rational, financial, economic analysis!

Cheers,
Steve

maeng9981
07-14-12, 01:03 PM
That's really nice! Glad you came to the end of this repair - and happy to hear that the car is running great!

About the gauge sweep - the gauge will only sweep when the engine is started - and without using one-touch electronic ignition (release the key too fast and it won't sweep).

The P0102 - check if the wiring has come loose out of the connector. Mine broke after pulling them too hard, and it looks like it will do that quite often if I am not careful - I had to open up the connector (easy) to put it all back to normal places, secured. Also, see if the wiring is in correct order.

eyewonder
07-15-12, 10:45 AM
That's really nice! Glad you came to the end of this repair

Well, its the end of the 'head gasket' repair. Now its time to address all the other issues.
As an aside, I DID have a nightmare last night that the temp gauge went to the 3/4 mark on me!



About the gauge sweep - the gauge will only sweep when the engine is started - and without using one-touch electronic ignition (release the key too fast and it won't sweep).
Thanks for reminding me - that's what I was thinking of having seen.



The P0102 - check if the wiring has come loose out of the connector. Mine broke after pulling them too hard, and it looks like it will do that quite often if I am not careful - I had to open up the connector (easy) to put it all back to normal places, secured. Also, see if the wiring is in correct order.

The P0102 is a 'Mass Air Flow Sensor Circuit Low Frequency' code. When I got the car, the connector had been taken off the sensor, and looped inside the PCM box - not connected, just to protect the connector! P0102 was current before I started the HG repair. I put a new (reman) MAF in, and the code is now gone.

I still have a current P0449 code , 'Evaporative Emission (EVAP) Vent Solenoid Control Circuit' . FSM shows that with key on, there should be battery voltage (+12) at one terminal, and the PCM grounding the other side, when necessary. I'll recheck, but I believe that I am NOT getting the +12Volts. So its time to chase wires.

Actually, more that one wire. Someone before me had added two wires to the rear fuse block, looped them over the side of the plastic fuse block case, and they go somewhere ???? forward. They do have fuses, one has a 1Amp, the other has a 2Amp.

And last on the wiring, the battery ground connector (at the battery) has one very small, #24 maybe, wire that has had its insulation melted off. Got to chase that down.

And I have managed to drain the battery during this electrical phase of repair. At this point, it looks like I MIGHT have to buy a battery. Not sure, will use a battery from another car to test, before placing the order.


I just replaced all the tail-light bulbs, repaired one corroded socket. Because I really didn't want to break the full-width tail-light, it took me a couple of days to get it off, walking away when I couln't get it out - making sure I didn't use too much of a gorilla-mechanic attack.

I have a leak (ATF, PS pump?) dripping from below the radiator that I need to chase down.

For the 50 miles or so that I drove it after the HG repair, I could feel a pulsing of the brake pedal when stopping. OK, have the rotors turned, and put in new pads. Not too big of a deal. The car came from an area where they do use salt/chemicals on the roads in winter, and one of the rotors was very stubborn coming off. I wire brushed the hubs & rotors so that they would mate up flat. Got the fronts back together & wheels on, and --- what's this? Looks like the wheel bearings in the right front hub is very loose. And the left has movement, also. I kept looking at the rotor, hoping that is was not seated against the hub, but it was. What is really puzzling is that I have had the wheels on & off multiple times, and did not see this problem before.

I'm presuming that there is NOT any way to tighten the wheel bearings, like you would have done 30 years ago? Which means buying new capsules? Anybody, feel free to chime in if you see something I have missed.

And, if I'm continuing down this path, might as well do new struts, as this is a 170K mile vehicle. And I expect to drive this car till they put me 6' under.

Monroe makes a direct replacement (full electric controls, as with original) that can be had for $350 delivered. I googled those struts and found a user on another Cadillac forum who put them on, and was VERY pleased with the performance. So I will probably get those.

Sure glad this project is 'finished'.

Cheers,
Steve

Submariner409
07-15-12, 10:55 AM
New wheel bearing capsules, Timken if you can find them. You will find "AC Delco" bearings sourced from Timken, Moog, SKF, New Departure, others.

eyewonder
07-15-12, 01:16 PM
Sub,

Is a 'wheel bearing capsule' different than the hub assembly, where the wheel speed sensor is located?

It sounds like if I can find the bearing capsule, that I won't have to buy a complete hub assembly - correct? GM Parts Giant has a drawing "Diagram: 2000-2002 KS,KY,Suspension/Front - 6K06042" which shows item #11, and calls it 'Hub Kit, Front Wheel, with bearings & sensor". Its $200 +, for that assembly.

Would I dis-assemble my existing hub, try to pull the bearing out, without damaging the speed sensor, to get a part number? A little spoon-feeding here is appreciated.

Cheers,
Steve

Edited: just looked at Rock Auto, and they only show 2 options, both say AC Delco, no mention of bearing manuf, and both in the 180-220 price range. Is that where you expected to see bearing type specified? And is that a price range that you expected? Thanks.

89falcon
07-15-12, 04:11 PM
Sub,

Is a 'wheel bearing capsule' different than the hub assembly, where the wheel speed sensor is located?

It sounds like if I can find the bearing capsule, that I won't have to buy a complete hub assembly - correct? GM Parts Giant has a drawing "Diagram: 2000-2002 KS,KY,Suspension/Front - 6K06042" which shows item #11, and calls it 'Hub Kit, Front Wheel, with bearings & sensor". Its $200 +, for that assembly.

Would I dis-assemble my existing hub, try to pull the bearing out, without damaging the speed sensor, to get a part number? A little spoon-feeding here is appreciated.

Cheers,
Steve

Edited: just looked at Rock Auto, and they only show 2 options, both say AC Delco, no mention of bearing manuf, and both in the 180-220 price range. Is that where you expected to see bearing type specified? And is that a price range that you expected? Thanks.

I replaced one of the front bearing assemblies on my 97......I live in CO and the car spent it's adolescence in Canada....so it may have bigger corrosion issues than a dry....no snow...environment.....but getting the half shaft out of the bearing....was a PAIN! Make sure you have a VERY good gear puller....I broke a couple cheap ones....

Submariner409
07-15-12, 06:04 PM
Is a 'wheel bearing capsule' different than the hub assembly, where the wheel speed sensor is located?

Hub assembly - It's the whole enchilada - sensor, bearings, seal, flange, hub, studs......... and the good ones are NOT cheap.

Call Chris in Parts at Rippy Cadillac tomorrow morning, EDT >>>> over there

You'll need all the correct removal procedures and install torque specs.

The wheel speed sensor, in the front hubs, is swaged into the hub and is included in the assembly price.

eyewonder
07-15-12, 07:16 PM
Sub,

Calling Chris tomorrow morn was already on my list. And as for procedures, I have the FSM - anything other than that to check?

Thanks,
Steve

Submariner409
07-15-12, 07:45 PM
As always, when you go into something like suspension/brakes, check it all...... bushings, sway bar links/bushings, tie rod end, CV boots. Take a hard look at the brake rotor and pads - other than superficial rotor scoring and <50% pad wear, OK.

89falcon
07-15-12, 09:42 PM
Sub,

Calling Chris tomorrow morn was already on my list. And as for procedures, I have the FSM - anything other than that to check?

Thanks,
Steve

Steve,
Don't start the job without a healthy supply of WD 40 and a VERY good gear puller.....

eyewonder
07-15-12, 10:59 PM
Take a hard look at the brake rotor and pads - other than superficial rotor scoring and <50% pad wear, OK.

The rotors were turned, and new pads installed. That is when I noticed the very excessive wheel bearing slop. Still wondering how I missed that till now, having had the tires on/off multiple times.

I'll be looking at the other items as I go.

Cheers,
Steve

dukester
08-07-12, 03:19 PM
maeng9981,

This is "fantastic", I went to your URL, read all 4 pages and watched all of your video's on your Northstar Head / Bolt rebuild - this is nothing less than A+++++++++++++

With your passion, you will be one of the best mechanics in the country.

Again, VERY, VERY WELL DONE . . . !!!!!!!!!!

A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Duke, McKinney, TX