: Deville oil leak



BigJoe
11-27-04, 07:10 PM
I've had oil leaks on a 96 and 99 Deville. Is anyone else having this problem or have is this an exception to the rule? My 99 was bought brand new and has been meticulously maintained.

Ranger
11-27-04, 09:09 PM
I had a leak on my '97. Dealer said it was the half case. I caught 1 month before the warranty ran out.

SHERIFF
11-28-04, 12:01 AM
I recently bought my first Cadillac..... a DTS. I'm not qualified to answer your question I suppose, because it only has 29,000 miles on it right now. I can say it is parked on a smooth concrete garage floor and my DTS does not leak a drop of anything anywhere so far.

low caddy
11-28-04, 07:09 PM
:hide: yes my 99 deville is leaking from the oil pan ,not even enough to leave a spot on the driveway but the oil pan has a drip hanging off it every time i look under the car

BigJoe
11-29-04, 10:00 PM
My 99 has only 43K miles on her and its garaged. I haven't noticed any oil on the floor but the dipstick shows that I seem to be losing oil somewhere along the way. There was a little bit of a wetspot under the radiator support but I don't know where any oil could be coming from in that area.

Big Drate
11-30-04, 08:55 PM
Intake mainfod, oil pan gasgets, oil pan, all these have leaked on my 94 deville, and i treat this car like it was my son.....oil leaks seem to be a problem

D-town lac
12-01-04, 01:48 AM
everyone i know with a fwd cadillac over 4 years old has an oil leak

jameslwalker
12-02-04, 12:58 PM
My 00 deville uses oil between recommended changes - nothing on the driveway. Dealer service advisor said use Miracle Mystery oil between changes, which helps a lot.
However, there was a leak previously and they had to remove the xmission (or something), but it was covered under the warrantee. They said it was a $2000.00 job.
Hope you don't have that problem.

Jim

UntrainedMonkey
12-12-04, 04:41 AM
I also have a 99 Deville and it seems to have a substantial oil leak. I have spoken to a local dealer and they say this is a known problem. It is not actually the oil pan gasket leaking but the half case. Because of the design it leaks down and appears to originate from the oil pan gasket. An ex-cadillac mechanic friend also confirmed this. My deville is out of warranty, so I have contacted Cadillac about the problem, although they claim they know nothing about this problem. The dealer says the repair is about $2300 and requires pulling the motor from the car.

Chris

caddywhizkid
12-15-04, 11:03 PM
It dosen't require pulling the engine, BUT it is a HUGE job. I can 95% garauntee its the "half case" better known as the crankshaft lower housing I just finished one on 12/14. Took me 8 hours to complete.

Anthony Cipriano
12-15-04, 11:22 PM
I've had oil leaks on a 96 and 99 Deville. Is anyone else having this problem or have is this an exception to the rule? My 99 was bought brand new and has been meticulously maintained.


There are MANY sources of an oil leak. Any comment on the source of the leak or cause is pure speculation. You have to crawl under there and figure out where the leak is coming from. No one can do that over the internet.

Every time there's an oil leak mentioned people jump to conclusions that it is the case half, oil pan, etcetera. These serve as a good guideline for what to look for but you MUST look yourself and not rely on an internet forum to diagnose your oil leak.

It could be transmission, power steering oil, engine oil... Who knows?

Many "case half leaks" have been solved by simply replacing the o-rings at the oil filter adapter. Some have found filters leaking. Some "rear main seal" leaks turned out to be power steering oil running into the valley and out the weep hole in the rear of the block. One was on the forum recently like that. The point is, check it out before you start blaming a chronic leak problem.

caddywhizkid
12-15-04, 11:34 PM
There are MANY sources of an oil leak. Any comment on the source of the leak or cause is pure speculation. You have to crawl under there and figure out where the leak is coming from. No one can do that over the internet.

Every time there's an oil leak mentioned people jump to conclusions that it is the case half, oil pan, etcetera. These serve as a good guideline for what to look for but you MUST look yourself and not rely on an internet forum to diagnose your oil leak.

It could be transmission, power steering oil, engine oil... Who knows?

Many "case half leaks" have been solved by simply replacing the o-rings at the oil filter adapter. Some have found filters leaking. Some "rear main seal" leaks turned out to be power steering oil running into the valley and out the weep hole in the rear of the block. One was on the forum recently like that. The point is, check it out before you start blaming a chronic leak problem.
Where do you work? Do you even fix Caddys? I have fixed enough caddy case halves to know that almost every one leaks there if they have never been done. I also know that once done if done right they wont come back leaking.

Anthony Cipriano
12-16-04, 12:03 AM
Where do you work? Do you even fix Caddys? I have fixed enough caddy case halves to know that almost every one leaks there if they have never been done. I also know that once done if done right they wont come back leaking.


So? Just because you have fixed a case half leak doesn't mean that they all leak or that this is the guys problem. Jumping to the conclusion that it's the case half leak is just wrong with no diagnosis or investigation. THAT is the point. I've seen "case half leaks" repaired twice on the same car that turned out to be the o-rings on the oil filter adapter seeping oil down onto the case half joint.

I've seen engines returned from the field with "incurable" rear main seal leaks that were power steering oil seeping into the valley and running down the back of the block.

Knee jerk diagnosis without seeing the car is worse than useless. It's misleading. It's certainly fair to indicate potential oil leak sources for investigation but jumping to conclusions as to the source of this particular oil leak is wrong just because you have seen one or two before.

In my investigations of case half leaks I find that most of the time the owner didn't even know he/she had a leak until someone walked them under the car and showed them. In other words, the seepage at the split line was not dripping on the ground and was an inconsequential "problem" until someone made it obvious to the owner - and then got paid for "fixing" the leak that the owner didn't know that they had before.

That is why I maintain that the split line leak issue is seriously overblown. There are some that leak, yes. At 100,000 miles a minor seepage at the split line is not a major failure by any means. But many of the engines that are "fixed" were fine and were needlessly repaired once it was brought to the owners attention. A case half leak rarely ends up leaking oil onto the ground in my experience. It will certainly make a mess of the lower half of the engine, for sure, but it really doesn't create anything more than that.

Leaks and drips that start to show up are commonly oil filter adapters, oil pressure switches, cooler lines, cooler line o-rings, oil coolers themselves, etcetera. Rarely does the split line seepage turn into the preported bedwetter that is described. Nor can it suddenly go catostropic and start spewing oil out as some owners are lead to believe by the mechanic that just showed them the greasy lower end of the engine and showed them that they have a leak.

caddywhizkid
12-16-04, 12:14 AM
Ok first if anybody did case halfs without adapter o rings they are a total hack. Second, the adapter is below the case half line. Third I said 95 % of the time. Also leaks and drips are NEVER the oil pressure switches, the adaptors, or the oil coolers, but ALWAYS the case halves the oil pans the rear mains or, more commonly the oil level sensors, or the oil cooler lines. I maybe new here but i will go head to head with anybody here when it comes to the N* as you guys call it. i work in a shop that does about a 1000 RO's a month and I handle A LOT of the caddys. I know what I see. LOL

an01sts
12-16-04, 02:24 AM
Anthony and I engaged in a most respectable exchance of thoughts. I'm cannot speak for Anthony, but I found the exchange thought provoking, whether or not it changed either of our philosophies,

If you don't mind a respectible exchange, I'd like to elaborate on the issue. Just because you have done however many whatevers, that doesn't mean that they all leak. What it means is that everything that has come into your stall is leaking. If the car doesn't have a problem, it's not in your stall for said repairs; therefore, without crunching vin numbers compared to what comes in for said repair, the numbers may be a small percentage.

(I trust me, I undersand the sos; you do it over and over and over. When I worked as a Caddy tech, one have beleived that all Caddilacs had been stolen at some time in their lives. Despite the fact that it seemed that all Cadillacs were stolen, if you were to crunch the numbers of Cadillacs in the area, compared to the ones that were stolen, it would be a safe bet that the majority of Cadillacs were not stolen at some point in their lives. Here's an intersting one: All collision Cadillacs were rear ended or side impact. All Lexus, and I mean ALL LEXUS were front end collision. Speaks volumes as to the nature of the driver--huh?)

Back to the oil leak: Based on my own personal experaince, neither of my cars--my traded-in 99 STS and my current 01 STS--leaked oil. In addition to me mentiong my other faults, I'm major anal about my vehicles. I constantly look everythig over with a fine tooth comb. I clean the inside of my wheels twice a week, and I scrub the exposed parts of my aluminum controll arms about one a month. My car is a garage queen--the other one was too-- and there isn't a drop of oil leaking from it, on the floor or anywhere else. The only external oil is just a micro trace at the oil plug, and it's probally residue from the plug's o-ring crush when installing it. In other words, you don't know about my cars and however many other people's cars because they are not in your stall for said repairs.

caddywhizkid
12-16-04, 07:09 PM
I didnt say they all leaked I said 95%. Also you may be anal about yur car but the average caddy owner isn't that anal, and not everyone leaks but 95% of the ones I see leak. I'm not trying to start a war here just telling what I see.

Anthony Cipriano
12-16-04, 11:10 PM
I didnt say they all leaked I said 95%. Also you may be anal about yur car but the average caddy owner isn't that anal, and not everyone leaks but 95% of the ones I see leak. I'm not trying to start a war here just telling what I see.

Did you ever stop to think that the only cars you see might be ones brought in because they had that specific problem? Of course a high percentage of them might have a leak if they're brought in for a leak. There are millions of Northstar engines on the road. Regardless of how many are in your shop they're only a very small percentage of all the Northstars on the road. 95% of Northstars don't leak oil.

This is a common "ailment" of techs in dealerships. They only see broken cars so they start to feel like they're ALL broken. They aren't - only the ones they (you) see. The other ones don't come in the shop.

Not trying to be a wise ass, here, really. It's something that is often not recognized, though, by dealers and service people. Like the 4.3 DexCool discussion. Most all the 4.3s run fine on DexCool. GM makes several thousand 4.3s per day with millions already on the road. You see some that were run low on coolant and rusted up the cooling system and suddenly "all" 4.3s do that.

It's also common in product engineering. Techs see blown engines from the dyno's all the time so to talk to them all Northstars blow up. They forget that the engines are deliberately being run to near destruction on the dyno's for test purposes all the time. When one breaks it goes into the shop. So of course all they see are broken engines. The unbroken ones are still on the dyno running. The other factor here is that they see broken engines for several years during development when problems are being found and solved. Then they never see but a few of the engines run through the tests with no problems. They just remember the ones that blew up.

caddywhizkid
12-18-04, 01:04 AM
If its such a small percentage then why did GM release a bulletin?
As far as the oil leaks go, most of the ones I do are upsells, on cars that came in for other problems.

Anthony Cipriano
12-18-04, 06:06 AM
As far as the oil leaks go, most of the ones I do are upsells, on cars that came in for other problems.





Enough said. See my comments from above. I've just never heard a service person openly confirm it before.

"In my investigations of case half leaks at dealers I find that most of the time the owner didn't even know he/she had a leak until someone walked them under the car and showed them. In other words, the seepage at the split line was not dripping on the ground and was an inconsequential "problem" until someone made it obvious to the owner and then got paid for "fixing" the leak that the owner didn't know that they had before.

That's why I maintain that the split line leak issue is seriously overblown. There are some that leak, yes. At 100,000 miles a minor seepage at the split line is not a major failure by any means. But many of the engines that are "fixed" were fine and were needlessly repaired once it was brought to the owners attention. A case half leak rarely ends up leaking oil onto the ground in my experience. It will certainly make a mess of the lower half of the engine, for sure, but it really doesn't create anything more than that."

Katshot
12-18-04, 02:39 PM
Enough said. See my comments from above. I've just never heard a service person openly confirm it before.

"In my investigations of case half leaks at dealers I find that most of the time the owner didn't even know he/she had a leak until someone walked them under the car and showed them. In other words, the seepage at the split line was not dripping on the ground and was an inconsequential "problem" until someone made it obvious to the owner and then got paid for "fixing" the leak that the owner didn't know that they had before.

That's why I maintain that the split line leak issue is seriously overblown. There are some that leak, yes. At 100,000 miles a minor seepage at the split line is not a major failure by any means. But many of the engines that are "fixed" were fine and were needlessly repaired once it was brought to the owners attention. A case half leak rarely ends up leaking oil onto the ground in my experience. It will certainly make a mess of the lower half of the engine, for sure, but it really doesn't create anything more than that."

I must admit, I don't understand your logic here. To me, you're saying that unless it's leaking on the ground, it's not serious? If the oil leak is bad enough to "make a mess of the lower half of the engine", that's a bad leak to me. And your point that "most" owners aren't aware they have a leak until someone else points it out, only says to me that there's most likely a helluva lot more of them out there that haven't been diagnosed or fixed. I'm just not following your train of thought here. Bottom line, IMO, the issue is not so much that they leak, it's how expensive it is to repair. Hell, a lot of engines develop valve cover leaks but few people complain about it because it's a fairly cheap repair. If valve cover gaskets caused as much to repair as the Northstar case half seal, I'd be complaining too. Sorry, when any given repair is so expensive, I feel it's incidence of failure should be very low. If not, the design was bad or the build quality somehow didn't live up to design standards.

ZSKI
12-18-04, 10:45 PM
Just for a second, lets just say that it is the 'case half' gasket. What is this gasket made of and why are they leaking? My 99 DeVille (45k)is oily on the bottom of the oil pan too, and I know of another owner (97 DeVille 40k) with the same. Would an additive such as RISLONE or perhaps MIRACLE MYSTERY OIL, which are proported to swell gaskets, do anything to help stop/slow the leak? Would it hurt to try?

Anthony Cipriano
12-19-04, 01:25 AM
I must admit, I don't understand your logic here. To me, you're saying that unless it's leaking on the ground, it's not serious? If the oil leak is bad enough to "make a mess of the lower half of the engine", that's a bad leak to me. And your point that "most" owners aren't aware they have a leak until someone else points it out, only says to me that there's most likely a helluva lot more of them out there that haven't been diagnosed or fixed. I'm just not following your train of thought here. Bottom line, IMO, the issue is not so much that they leak, it's how expensive it is to repair. Hell, a lot of engines develop valve cover leaks but few people complain about it because it's a fairly cheap repair. If valve cover gaskets caused as much to repair as the Northstar case half seal, I'd be complaining too. Sorry, when any given repair is so expensive, I feel it's incidence of failure should be very low. If not, the design was bad or the build quality somehow didn't live up to design standards.


My point is that the people didn't even know they had an oil leak until someone made an "upsell" to point it out and get them to fix it. I can just hear the logic, "you had better get this fixed before it blows out and leaves you stranded...".

Not that an oil leak is acceptable and great pains have been taken to eliminate the potential reasons for the case half leak but when you're talking higher mileage used cars coming unglued over a minor seepage that does no more than make a mess of the lower part of the engine it's NOT a serious defect in my opinion. I would certainly never condemn the engine and say that it's a failure because of that.

Kind of like the question of "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make noise?". "if an oil leak is not catostrophic and is not dripping on the ground is it really a true "leak" if the customer never knew about it?".

Anthony Cipriano
12-19-04, 01:48 AM
Just for a second, lets just say that it is the 'case half' gasket. What is this gasket made of and why are they leaking? My 99 DeVille (45k)is oily on the bottom of the oil pan too, and I know of another owner (97 DeVille 40k) with the same. Would an additive such as RISLONE or perhaps MIRACLE MYSTERY OIL, which are proported to swell gaskets, do anything to help stop/slow the leak? Would it hurt to try?

The Northstar block is made in two halfs for maximum strength. The block splits at the crank centerline and the "lower crank case" is a single casting that forms the main bearing caps and lower block all in one piece. Super strong lower end but it's hard to seal the joint between the block halves permanently.

There's a groove in the upper crank case that a molded silicone seal is installed into (it's called a spagetti seal because it looks kind of like a piece of spagetti that is pressed into the groove). This seal (often called the LCC side seals) forms a sort of o-ring that seals the two halves when they're bolted toqether. The rear main seal is pressed into the rear of the block and forms a tee joint at the junction of the side seals. The usual issue is an imperfect seal between the rear main and the side seal at the tee juntion. Oil wicks into the side seal groove and then weeps out the split line of the LCC where it bolts to the block and forms the LCC joint. It's a minor seepage that isn't pressurized oil and will never do more than make the LCC greasy but it's something that's a complaint item none the less. Especially when you're perfectly happy driving your car until the tech takes you underneath and points out the oil leak that you never knew you had and tells you how "bad" it is.

If you go underneath most any car with 75,000 or 100,000 miles on it there's always going to be some oil and greasyness of the lower end of the engine. This is the source of the Northstar leak.

Since the seal is silicone, nothing is going to swell it - so any additive to the oil is pointless in my opinion. If the seepage is the issue of the oil seeping past the tee joint with the rear main seal then additives wont have an affect on it either.

The LCC bolts metal-to-metal to the upper block for strength so the o-ring style seal is along that junction. There is no gasket in the joint per se because it would take strength away from the block. Later model engines from about 1996 on have an additional anerobic sealer added to the joint to futher prevent any seepage of oil that might get past the spagetti silicone seal. Also, in 1996 the rear main seal was made wider to form a better tee joint with the side seals and isolate the point that the oil can enter the side seal groove from the crank case side. The rear main seal is rarely the source of any oil leaks in a Northstar but it was beefed up also in about 1998 with the incorporation of a teflon lipped seal that's nearly indestructable and will live for several hundred thousand miles.

Leaks at this joint are often confused, however, as there are additional joints between the oil manifold plate and the oil pan. The oil manifold plate has a molded in place silicone beaded seal and the oil pan uses a formed silicone beaded seal that's pressed into a groove in the mating surface of the oil pan. The oil pan and the oil manifold plate are also structural entities so they're a metal-to-metal joint that the silicone beaded seal sits inboard of. Any seepage of oil from any of these joints will end up on the lower part of the engine and will make the LCC and oil pan greasy looking.

Any leak on the lower end must be carefully diagnosed before jumping to any conclusions. The best way is to clean the lower end as thoroughly as possible, install the flourescent dye into the oil and run the engine on a hoist while watching the lower end of the engine with a black light. The leak source will be immediately evident as the flourescent dye lights up with the black light and will allow the identification of the lead source.

Unfortunately, any oil on the lower end is always blamed on the "LCC leak" and the engine is torn apart and all the seals are replaced. The leak is fixed but no one really knows which seal replacement actually fixed the leak.

Another potential leak source under the engine is the joint between the oil filter adapter and the block and the oil cooler lines at the oil filter adapter. A leak at either of these is very very easy to repair as the oil filter adapter seals with two thick o-rings and the oil cooler lines seal with small o-rings in the tubing joint. Either can be replaced easily with the engine in the car. Trouble is, with no diagnosis the LCC takes the blame, the engine gets pulled and in the process the leak is fixed when the oil filter adapter o-rings are replaced. But that could have been done without pulling the engine for a tiny fraction of the cost of the repair.

You must get under the car and identify the source of the leak. The forum can shed light on potential sources of leaks but there's no way to accurately diagnose the source of an oil leak over the internet.

Katshot
12-19-04, 08:40 AM
My point is that the people didn't even know they had an oil leak until someone made an "upsell" to point it out and get them to fix it. I can just hear the logic, "you had better get this fixed before it blows out and leaves you stranded...".

Not that an oil leak is acceptable and great pains have been taken to eliminate the potential reasons for the case half leak but when you're talking higher mileage used cars coming unglued over a minor seepage that does no more than make a mess of the lower part of the engine it's NOT a serious defect in my opinion. I would certainly never condemn the engine and say that it's a failure because of that.

Kind of like the question of "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make noise?". "if an oil leak is not catostrophic and is not dripping on the ground is it really a true "leak" if the customer never knew about it?".

My answer would be YES, it's a leak! IMO, a leak is a leak regardless of whether it leaks all over the floor or just makes a mess of the underside of the car (the oil doesn't just stay all over the engine, it travels the complete length of the car usually coating most components, including the exhaust). And I doubt anyone's trying to say that the engine is a "failure" due to that one seal leak. I think it's a failure due to the MANY issues it has. And I think it's a great dis-service to Cadillac customers to expect them to accept the many failings of the Northstar (which are very costly to repair) as "normal" or "acceptable" in any way. I said once, and I'll say it again. If you honestly look at the Northstar, you'll see that in many ways, it's been more trouble than the HT4100 was. It's just got more power.

caddywhizkid
12-19-04, 10:53 AM
Well said

ZSKI
12-19-04, 01:10 PM
I would just like to say 'thanks" to Anthony Cipriano, KATSHOT, the "KID' and others for a great discussion...which is what I wanted. I have learned a lot. I have had my Caddy for a year now...so far I like the car and have had a lot of fun with it. Is it a good car? Would I buy another? Let me get another four or five years on it, another 50k-60k miles on it and I will have a better opinon. Can I put up with a little oil on the bottom of the engine...yes, as long as it doesn't get worse or cause some trouble. Once again, thanks. Keep it going, enjoy the holidays all.

Anthony Cipriano
12-19-04, 01:45 PM
I would agree that a leak is a leak is a leak. On a brand new engine, any leak should and will be taken care of under warranty with no questions asked. My point is that as the vehicle ages and miles and years accrue you have to ask the question is the "leak" worth fixing? Is it causing an inconvenience? Is it worth tearing the engine down for?

Most of the rants about leaks and stuff always reference, "this is a $50k car" as if they paid $50k for it. In reality most of the discussions revolve around $10k used cars. That's why I think it's a disservice to a lot of customers to "up sell" them a leak repair for a leak that they didn't even know they had and that wont hurt anything. Am I personally going to get upset about a leak on my new $50k car that's getting the engine greasy? Yes. Am I going to get upset over a leak on a 6 year old car with 85k on it that's getting the oil pan greasy.. Heck no.

Too many discussions seem to always hinge on the one "correct" answer. In this case I feel there are varying degrees of "correctness" as to the appropriate action to take with the seepages under discussion.

Personally I frown on the practice of "upselling" a service to a customer that came in for an oil change and was talked into a $2000 repair of a minor oil seepage that was never going to hurt anything and was unknown until the "upseller" pointed it out to "make work" and keep the shop busy.

As I've said before, for all it's faults, the Northstar and the FWD Cadillacs are becoming their own worst enemy. They age well, still look and run good way past 100,000 miles. They're so good that people then expect even more of them. They buy the car with high miles and then tend to talk like it's a new car. It is to them but they didn't pay the MSRP, they don't get the advantages of warranty coverage. They bought a used car. Well used in many cases. Other than the occasional head gasket there's little that stops the engines from running and even then many of them run for years and 100,000 miles happily using coolant. The engine is pretty tough and well designed. Perfection? No. What is perfect? Lexus? It costs as much to do the mandatory timing belt change on a Lexus V8 as it does to replace the head gaskets on a Northstar that probably wont need to be done in most cases.

To put things into perspective you really need to review some of the "hate sites" on the web for Toyota, Honda, BMW, Mercedes, etcetera. They all have "serious problems" with engines and everything else - just like this site. Many Hondas start chirping or ticking, head gaskets leaking compression - you have to retorque the head bolts - and did I mention removing the cams to get to the head bolts? BMW's lose the entire motor when the Nikasil cylinder bores fail. Toyota has sludged up so many minivan engines they lost count with their closed PCV system. Not to throw stones here, just to point out that the list of things that go wrong with miles isn't restricted to Northstars and Cadillacs. The failures of the Northstars are pretty minor ususally, very repairable and the engine is very reliable all in all.

Keep reminding yourself that every one jumps on the internet when they have a problem to vent and find help and consolation. So it automatically sounds like they all do that. Cars coming into dealerships, by definition, have some sort of problem or maintenance requirement (some more than others when the "upsell" is done. :p) so of course "all" of them have a problem.

I sit in traffic on the expressway and look around me and marvel at the number of Northstar Cadillacs I see that are actually running, not smoking, not dripping puddles of oil under them, etcetera. The owners appear happy to me. I'll go out of my way in a parking lot to ask a Cadillac owner how they like their car. Rarely, if ever, do I hear anything negative about the engine. The exact opposite of what you read on the forums.

Interesting, too, is the bad rap the 4.1 always gets. An amazing number of them are still making tracks to be such a complete loser of an engine.

ZSKI
12-19-04, 02:22 PM
You sure talk a lot Anthony...lets CADDY! :thumbsup:

Katshot
12-19-04, 05:17 PM
I would agree that a leak is a leak is a leak. On a brand new engine, any leak should and will be taken care of under warranty with no questions asked. My point is that as the vehicle ages and miles and years accrue you have to ask the question is the "leak" worth fixing? Is it causing an inconvenience? Is it worth tearing the engine down for?

Most of the rants about leaks and stuff always reference, "this is a $50k car" as if they paid $50k for it. In reality most of the discussions revolve around $10k used cars. That's why I think it's a disservice to a lot of customers to "up sell" them a leak repair for a leak that they didn't even know they had and that wont hurt anything. Am I personally going to get upset about a leak on my new $50k car that's getting the engine greasy? Yes. Am I going to get upset over a leak on a 6 year old car with 85k on it that's getting the oil pan greasy.. Heck no.

Too many discussions seem to always hinge on the one "correct" answer. In this case I feel there are varying degrees of "correctness" as to the appropriate action to take with the seepages under discussion.

Personally I frown on the practice of "upselling" a service to a customer that came in for an oil change and was talked into a $2000 repair of a minor oil seepage that was never going to hurt anything and was unknown until the "upseller" pointed it out to "make work" and keep the shop busy.

As I've said before, for all it's faults, the Northstar and the FWD Cadillacs are becoming their own worst enemy. They age well, still look and run good way past 100,000 miles. They're so good that people then expect even more of them. They buy the car with high miles and then tend to talk like it's a new car. It is to them but they didn't pay the MSRP, they don't get the advantages of warranty coverage. They bought a used car. Well used in many cases. Other than the occasional head gasket there's little that stops the engines from running and even then many of them run for years and 100,000 miles happily using coolant. The engine is pretty tough and well designed. Perfection? No. What is perfect? Lexus? It costs as much to do the mandatory timing belt change on a Lexus V8 as it does to replace the head gaskets on a Northstar that probably wont need to be done in most cases.

To put things into perspective you really need to review some of the "hate sites" on the web for Toyota, Honda, BMW, Mercedes, etcetera. They all have "serious problems" with engines and everything else - just like this site. Many Hondas start chirping or ticking, head gaskets leaking compression - you have to retorque the head bolts - and did I mention removing the cams to get to the head bolts? BMW's lose the entire motor when the Nikasil cylinder bores fail. Toyota has sludged up so many minivan engines they lost count with their closed PCV system. Not to throw stones here, just to point out that the list of things that go wrong with miles isn't restricted to Northstars and Cadillacs. The failures of the Northstars are pretty minor ususally, very repairable and the engine is very reliable all in all.

Keep reminding yourself that every one jumps on the internet when they have a problem to vent and find help and consolation. So it automatically sounds like they all do that. Cars coming into dealerships, by definition, have some sort of problem or maintenance requirement (some more than others when the "upsell" is done. :p) so of course "all" of them have a problem.

I sit in traffic on the expressway and look around me and marvel at the number of Northstar Cadillacs I see that are actually running, not smoking, not dripping puddles of oil under them, etcetera. The owners appear happy to me. I'll go out of my way in a parking lot to ask a Cadillac owner how they like their car. Rarely, if ever, do I hear anything negative about the engine. The exact opposite of what you read on the forums.

Interesting, too, is the bad rap the 4.1 always gets. An amazing number of them are still making tracks to be such a complete loser of an engine.


Again, I feel you're playing-down the Northstar issues. "upselling" as you call it, is a way of life for not only the dealerships but virtually any retail repair shop. You chastise the dealers for "upselling" something from an oil-change. HELLO? Oil changes are loss-leaders. Do you honestly think the dealerships or anyone else for that matter can pay their bills on doing oil-changes? Get real.
I also think you're missing an important point here. Resale value. Cadillacs have a pitiful resale value. Want to guess why? Because too damn many of them are friggin' MONEY-PITS! Ever since the late 70's, Cadillac has had a problem with their engines, and customers know it. On top of that, the other electronic "toys" in the cars have been problematic too and have contributed heavily to the poor resale values of these cars. There's only one car that I can think of over the last 20 or so years that HASN'T been a money-pit and HASN'T had any major durability issues. Want to guess what car that is? How about the lowest tech car they had. The one that was sold to so many fleets over the years. The one that was at the top of it's game when Cadillac cancelled it because they needed production space for SUV's. The Full-size, RWD Fleetwood. You can keep the Northstar and all the toys those cars bring with them.

caddywhizkid
12-19-04, 07:40 PM
Very well said Katshot.

Stace
01-03-05, 08:26 PM
I'm not really interested in the pros and cons of the northstar. I own several and also several 4100's (there are some good and bad stories there). I am following this thread because I have to make a decision regarding MY "half case" leak.

I recently purchased an Eldorado Convertible conversion with very low milage. The rest of the car is near cherry but when I applied for an extended warranty today we discovered the oil leak; not serious yet but will have to be tended to in the near future. (The first drop on the garage floor will be the trigger for me)

I'm trying to determine the following:
a) is the "case half" leak problem sufficiently complex to stay with the dealer ($2500 more or less)?
b) can one save enough money to consider an independent mechanic?
c) How can a person determine if the mechanic is competent on the northstar drive train?

On the other "sub thread", I expect my dealer's service department to identify potential problems and give me an honest assesment of their severity. I'm not too worried about "upselling" because of the other business I do there. At some point, you have to trust those who provide the service if you can't do it yourself.

(edit 1-4-05) After rereading the posts in this thread I like the suggestion to clean the engine and use the dye ... the post reminded me of the issue with my '98 Seville and the dye was used to diagnose the problem. It certainly makes sense to spend a little for the test before spending a bunch for the repair.

klt
01-03-05, 09:22 PM
I have a '89 DeVille with 155,000 miles. Have had it for 4.5 years and 60,000 miles. Over that time almost every fluid in the car has leaked. Replacing the oil filter every 3500 miles I always end up with some oil dripping down the back side of the engine. I second that opinion of making sure what is leaking from your car and the type of fluid. I have fixed all leaks evcept a new one from the water pump. At this point I just refill the overflow container every week. I have replaced all coolant hoses, radiator, oil pan gasket, transmission pan gasket, temperature switch that is near firewall in the heater hose line, and the rack and pinion. Most old cars do leak.

Ranger
01-03-05, 09:59 PM
A) If infact it is the half case, yes it is very expensive as the drive train must be removed from the car and the lower case split in half. I think it is about an 18 hr job. http://caddyinfo.netgetgoing.com/howto/casehalf.htm

B) You probably can save money with an independent but I'd be sure he is familiar with the Northstar.

C) Ask him.

powerglide
01-17-05, 03:08 PM
My 98 (88K miles) "leaks" and "uses" about 1 quart of oil between oil changes. I just add a quart every 1500 miles or so, done deal.

Once I left the car parked for a month and I noticed a little bit of oil under the car, but other than that I've never noticed.

I read somewhere that the Northstar has some oil consumption issues, BTW. Still a really sweet engine, I am very impressed all in all (esp considering the money)

ingvey
02-15-05, 09:17 PM
I work in a hospital and only see sick people. It starts to make me think everytime I have a headache it is a brain tumor. Anthony Cipriano is EXACTLTY correct. When you see a lot of something you tend to think every situation is like that. For the 50,000 people we see each year with cancer there are MIllions and Millions without it.

dicksdeville
03-04-05, 05:03 PM
Last month I bought a 97 DeVille with 25K miles that had a lot of oil on the lower part of the engine. The dealer diagnosed a leak at the case half joint. The application of 2800 dollar bills would be required to make the leak go away. I came home and read these posts by 'Anthony Cipriano' and asked a guy who has worked on my old cars for 10 or 12 years to do the dye test. The split area ws not leaking but he found 3 bolts on the oil pan that needed a few turns. Needless to say I'm very grateful for the info I found here.

ZSKI
03-05-05, 01:33 PM
On my 1999 DeVille (47K miles) I have started to maintain my oil level at a lower level, from the bottom to half way up on the measuring portion of the dip stick. This has mitigated my half-case leak nicely.

M&N
03-05-05, 09:42 PM
I agree a leak is a leak, whether seeping or on the ground, but from my experince and on a new 04 diesel the dealer will not cover it under warrenty unless it's leaking on the ground. Which in my case I can live with the seeping vs taking a new engine apart for a seal and possibly creating new problems. My '98 caddy does seep oil at the half case but does not drip to the ground and wipes up fine when I do an oil change. Oil seepage, although an irritant, one must consider the pros and cons of repairing espically on a new engine.

Cat De'Lac
03-13-05, 10:44 AM
Well
I really love this forum , It's like pro wrestling... that said . I own a very oil leak free 98 Deville ,after an oil change i noticed oil all over the pan and surounding area so rather than blame it on case half , walnut half or half gallon of milk , i went to the most obvious and cheapest to replace ! The drain plug with o-ring , leak is gone and i'm going to go drive my Caddy. Next time you have a a cool drink in your car , stick it out the window at 70 with no lid and see where it goes , everywhere and so did the few drops of oil from my drain plug . My point is if in any doubt try the small things first you may just be surprised.
Just my two bucks (due to inflation)

Anthony

Doc Fillem
12-25-05, 04:09 AM
Just had my '99 Deville in for head gasket replacement. The mechanic told me that there is an updated or revised case half seal kit that is out now that they are using. He claimed that the original seals were too small from the factory, hence the oil leaks. While my guy was doing the heads he also reolaced the case half seals.

GreenWithEnvy
06-23-06, 09:51 PM
Caddy Just Does It For The $$

Pjs
06-29-06, 06:45 PM
Ok first if anybody did case halfs without adapter o rings they are a total hack. Second, the adapter is below the case half line. Third I said 95 % of the time. Also leaks and drips are NEVER the oil pressure switches, the adaptors, or the oil coolers, but ALWAYS the case halves the oil pans the rear mains or, more commonly the oil level sensors, or the oil cooler lines. I maybe new here but i will go head to head with anybody here when it comes to the N* as you guys call it. i work in a shop that does about a 1000 RO's a month and I handle A LOT of the caddys. I know what I see. LOL I hate to disillusion you kid...but I've got a oil switch on my 95 SLS that IS dripping. I spent 20 years as a mechanic working on everything from VW's to heavy construction equipment and I've seen quite a few oil switches drip and leak. As for my 1/2 case leak, it acutally turned out to be the oil manifold plate leaking. I inspected the case thourghly prior to splitting it and there wasn't so much as a weep.
Also, keep in mind that even though the adaptor is below the case line, oil can and does get blown up on the engine from the fans and driving.