: Buyer beware

09-14-12, 10:00 AM
I am flying to Florida Sept 21st to visit and purchase a Cadillac and drive back to Nebraska for personal use. Money restraints put Me into the 2002/2003 Deville or Seville catagory with up to 130K. I'm led to beware of Northstar engines prior to 2002 to avoid overheating and head gasket problems. Any timing chain problems or buying advice or pitfalls to avoid? Thanks, Joe

09-14-12, 10:39 AM

Timing chains are almost bullet proof. The Northstar got lengthened head bolts in 2000 and a coarser thread pitch on '04. Just be sure it does not overheat (give it some WOT on the test drive) and there where no recent cooling system problems like a new radiator. If there are or where any mention or signs of overheating, run like a pair of cheap pantyhose.

09-14-12, 04:14 PM
Go up ^^^ to the top black bar and study the entire Cadillac Technical Archive - there is vital Northstar information in there. Then, go back down to Discussions, Cadillac Tech Tips and wade through the many pages of threads for items of interest.

A GM dealer can be asked for the old GM "VIS" - the database printout of all warranty, recall, and some GM-performed work on the car. CARFAX is a voluntary reporting database, so the only info there will be registration changes, emissions tests, and a bit of other info someone wants you to know.

Use the sticky post at the top of the Seville/Deville forums page "How to pull codes" - these cars have their own built-in code scanner/memory system, so if you have access to a laptop at a dealer's lot you can scan the car yourself, go to the sticky and open the link with "obd2" in the address and use that to translate every P, B, C, and U code in the car's memory. Codes will show as Current or History.

Cold, open the coolant reservoir - the orange coolant should be absolutely clear and clean. ANY clue of mud, chips, flakes - walk. The reservoir should be half full, cold - no more than that. The engine oil should be clean with little or no smell. About halfway up the hashmark is the proper fill level. The engine takes exactly 7.5 quarts, with filter, of whatever 5W-30 oil floats your boat. Try to stay away from the Oil Doodle - do the oil/filter yourself and learn about the car..................

Stay away from any FWD Cadillac on the Korner Kar Korral or someone's front lawn: If the deal is too good to be true, it is.

09-18-12, 06:57 PM
Why not get a block test kit about, 30 bucks and bring it with you. Cheap insurance and it can be done in under 10 minutes.

09-18-12, 08:49 PM
Or borrow one from AutoZone and just pay for the test fluid.

09-20-12, 12:55 PM
Take it out on the highway, give a few good blasts of the throttle and back to cruising speed fully warmed up.

If it starts to overheat you start negiotaing or start planning your trip back home.

09-21-12, 10:33 AM
Follow submariners suggestion and you will learn a ton....and first thng flush the coolant and refill fresh! :thumbsup: