: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor



robjpiel
03-09-13, 03:41 PM
I believe i have a broken rod in my 03 deville dts. My engine stopped without any significant notice. Went to accelerate during a turn and noticed no power steering and no throttle response...the engine had quit. I forced the steering around the corner and coasted half a mile down a hill and off onto a side street. Put it in park and tried to start it up...no luck. One click and the lights would all go out. Seemed like a dead battery so I put a new one in. Same thing again. I figured it was just because the new battery wasnt fully charged. Got it towed home and charged both batteries. Same thing again... wouldn't start and lights would go out. I considered it was possibly a safety mechanism for an overload and tried to turn the crank with a breaker bar. Well it seemed siezed!!!! Tried to rotate it backwards slightly and it went with normal force. Then it would turn forwards right up to the same exact point and felt like it was hitting something. It wasnt leaking oil anywhere, the oil still looked black, and all the plugs but one looked good. The # 7 or 8 spark plug appears to have been hit!!

So here we are. I am afraid to pay a local shop $2100 to install a $900 80,000mi junk yard engine and then expect to have a reasonably reliable car. I dont think its worth risking $3000 and if there is any problem I am screwed and I cannot take that kind of chance. I have found Davis and Cadillac Doctor and they will install a rebuilt with the 1yr warranty for $3000 in Ohio. That sounds like something I could consider if they are legit. I havent seen too much talk on here regarding them.

Has anyone dealt with them? Does anyone have any other suggestions.

Ranger
03-09-13, 04:04 PM
A thrown rod in a Northstar is VERY rare. The lower end is almost bullet proof. I think I may have heard of it one time (unless of coarse you hydro-locked it). Does it turn any easier with the plugs out?

robjpiel
03-09-13, 05:16 PM
I will tell you in a few minutes...thank you for the reply!!

Plugs are already out..car has been sitting for a couple months since i turned it....

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OK. so now that it has been so long the bolt is loosening up before the crank is turning at all. hmmm. I tried turning it forward with all force I could come up with, no luck at all.

Submariner409
03-09-13, 07:00 PM
Find a used engine from the same year and VIN car, do a top overhaul with either inserts or studs and drop it in.

Good, used engine oil is NOT black - it is clear, dark amber/brown in color.

Ranger
03-09-13, 09:04 PM
OK. so now that it has been so long the bolt is loosening up before the crank is turning at all.
Oh oh! The oil pump is driven by clamping pressure of that bolt. It requires VERY high torque. Something like 320 ft lb if I remember correctly. Most guys have trouble loosening it. You may have been driving it with no oil pressure and seized the engine. No low oil pressure warning message, bells or whistles?

stoveguyy
03-10-13, 10:13 AM
BUT, do we hear any stories of balancer bolt coming lose when NO work has been done on motor? What are the chances the bolt just worked its way lose on its own?

Submariner409
03-10-13, 11:21 AM
Piston goes up to the same point and stops each time - dropped valve.......... he can turn the crank backwards a bit, but when he rotates it clockwise - BUMP !.

Nope, harmonic balancer bolts on these engines don't wiggle loose ................

Ranger
03-10-13, 11:23 AM
BUT, do we hear any stories of balancer bolt coming lose when NO work has been done on motor? What are the chances the bolt just worked its way lose on its own?
Slim to none.

robjpiel
03-10-13, 12:58 PM
Find a used engine from the same year and VIN car, do a top overhaul with either inserts or studs and drop it in.

Good, used engine oil is NOT black - it is clear, dark amber/brown in color.

I've heard the engine doesn't like to come out of the top, and I don't have access to a lift of any kind. I could buy a cherry picker if it was going to get it out. Do you know of any special tools I would need to do this job? I'm sorry if you have answered this a hundred times... I'm just wondering if I could actually do this myself on this engine, and what it would end up costing. Wouldn't I need to get it machined?

The oil was pretty dark

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Oh oh! The oil pump is driven by clamping pressure of that bolt. It requires VERY high torque. Something like 320 ft lb if I remember correctly. Most guys have trouble loosening it. You may have been driving it with no oil pressure and seized the engine. No low oil pressure warning message, bells or whistles?

This happened in August...at that time the bolt was not loose the engine was moving freely backwards and back to the same spot. After that my dad pulled the plugs out and noticed one bent. He put the rubber inserts back in and left each plug on top upside down. I had to get another vehicle immediately and the caddy has been a lawn ornament since then (a nice one I must admit). I'm guessing the engine has locked up a bit from sitting. At least enough for the bolt to loosen up first. Forwards I was able to put allot more force on it and it didn't budge at all.

Didn't get a oil pressure warning or anything else.

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Piston goes up to the same point and stops each time - dropped valve.......... he can turn the crank backwards a bit, but when he rotates it clockwise - BUMP !

We were considering this at first also until we found the bent plug...
Could that have been bent if it were just a dropped valve?

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I appreciate your help guy's.

How could it have gotten hydro-locked while going down the road? If that was the case and it had sat that long I could easily see how the engine would be locked up like this now.

vincentm
03-10-13, 06:19 PM
The engine can come out the top:

http://www.carrollcustomcadillac.com/siteimages/Jimmy%20final%20pics%20005.jpg

Ranger
03-10-13, 09:37 PM
I've heard the engine doesn't like to come out of the top
True. It can be done, but is generally considered harder.



I'm guessing the engine has locked up a bit from sitting. At least enough for the bolt to loosen up first.

No way in hell that bolt is gonna loosen up on it's own.



How could it have gotten hydro-locked while going down the road?
About the only way that's gonna happen is if you run through a REALLY deep puddle.

robjpiel
03-10-13, 10:20 PM
No way in hell that bolt is gonna loosen up on it's own.



LOL I know, I meant I loosened it with the breaker bar since the engine is not moving anymore :)


Yea so I guess we can just rule out Hydro-locking then.

It seems that I have two main options since I need to get this car running and get rid of my truck.

1- shipping it up to Ohio and getting the rebuilt one installed for around $3k plus towing it/shipping it etc. bringing the total to around 4k... I was just hoping someone had some experience doing business with these guy's. It seems like they are the only reasonably priced place for rebuilt N* engines on the internet.

2- pulling mine through the top. Opening it up to see what happened and most likely buying a used one. What would everyone recommend doing to a used engine before re-installing it? Inserts, and a new head gasket or more?

Thomassgrasso
03-11-13, 05:27 AM
To me always check your vehicle to a good mechanic whenever you think something is really serous to repair, in some cases don't try to it by yourself because sometime you'll be able to open some parts of your vehicle but when you try to refix it, ti will be kind a hard for new car owners or mechanics as well.

Manic Mechanic
03-11-13, 08:08 AM
Hey Rob, considering your predicament and have a few questions and suggestions.

On #1, first where are you? Many of us know places or resources that may or may not be on the net that could be of great help. Those two shops have decided to specialize and therefore can reduce the price because they're set up to do it quickly with a lot of experience. What you save you spend in shipping though. And realistically when you say "around $3,000" I assume that the vast majority of jobs end up $3,500-4,200 before it's done due to unforeseen issues. Once your all in you can't say no. It's not so much that I think they are misleading it's just that I'm a pro and also I'm very familiar with these cars and Northstar's now and know that there's going to be other necessary and recommended maintenance and repairs. Esp. if you want the warranty and at least 3 years more service from the rest of the car. I'm not try to scare you or cast any doubt on those guys who I have no knowledge of. I'm just trying to be a expert realist. In your decision making unless you can find a list of impartial guys who swear they all came and went just under and above $3,000 and are still happily motoring then you should assume $3,000 is the bare minimum and rarely achieved by anyone who wants to keep the car. Just my opinion. We all have to earn a living and to keep up promised expectations everything else better leave tip-top. They wouldn't want complaints because they didn't take care of any other needed things and the power-train had another failure that parked the car.

On #2. Assuming the salvage engine is under 100K I would at the minimum replace the head gaskets and stud or insert the block. Also reseal the bottom end with the latest materials and procedures. Meaning rear main seal, lower case half, and oil pan. Don't forget about the water cross-over gaskets as this is also a large in chassis job. While the engine is out I would shift the transmission over. Pull the side cover and install a new TCC solenoid that's going to burn up during the first month of reuse if you don't. That's the minimum but I went 5x further when I had mine out. The rest would be an as need or wanted basis.

Taking it to a pro will go much faster. You need to balance your time vs. money. Yes it costs more to pay but you would be very surprised how much a DIY will have to spend in time and money to achieve the same results. It's not as big a gap as you think for the first timer and definitely not worth the difference IMHO. Look at some of these DIY rebuild threads and consider as a pro doing it for the first time on open Saturdays while collecting new tools and running into snags to overcome etc. it took me about 6 months and much frustration to go through mine. You'll find things you had no clue were going bad. And I still need a tighter tailshaft housing though it's back in service. Since AJ decided there wasn't enough interests in his parts to actually "dig them out" I got one coming from an Ebay vendor this week.

Vernon

Submariner409
03-11-13, 09:46 AM
Good words ^^^^

robjpiel
03-11-13, 10:39 AM
I'm in Greenville, SC 29687. Any suggestions on a shop around here would be greatly appreciated. I went to half a dozen local shops and they either want the same price to give me a used engine with no kind of warranties or they straight up say they dont want to get involved with it. The only thing I'm worried about with having someone else do it is that if they do start running into things I quickly won't be able to afford it. But like you said it will be too late at that point. $4500 or so would be the far max of my budget. I could come up with a few more dollars if that was the difference between getting the car back or not but things wouldn't be cool here (my wife would kill me).

The TCC solenoid is already bad so I was planning to replace that. Good Call BTW!!! One of the shops said if I brought a new one in he'd install it for $300 which isn't the end of the world...I just didn't feel all that confident in them after he told me there were two solenoids in there TCC and another one and they are both on the bottom of the tranny. I pretty sure that I found on here that it is in the top of the tranny. So either I was looking at the wrong thing all together or he's mistaken. He could be accurate on that I suppose...but I will need to investigate further I guess.

The work you listed in #2 doesn't sound too too bad though. The general consensus seems to be that the bearings, rings etc would be ok left if alone? That would be good news.

If there is any leads on a shop around here I would love to talk so them.

Thanks for your time!

Manic Mechanic
03-11-13, 12:40 PM
Rob you're less than 100 miles from the Cadillac Forums resident (though absent of late) DeVille/Nortstar Guru. AJxtcman is what he goes by on the forum and he's in Rock Hill. I've communicated with him VIA email a couple of times in the last few weeks so he is still kicking but he doesn't seem to be so into the forum on a daily basis any longer. If you can get him to fix your car you are golden. Don't try to PM him as he never answered mine. Contact him by email at caleditor@pcmcalibrators.com. The last part is also his web-site. Now I don't know what he's going to say because I wasn't here when he took his leave and I have no clue why he left and what he's willing to do, but at the very least he can tell you where to go for good service locally.

Good luck,
Vernon

robjpiel
03-11-13, 01:51 PM
Thanks allot!! I did see that he was close when I was reading some other threads, but I couldn't tell what kind of business he was in. I just sent him an email, we'll see what happens. Again I greatly appreciate it sir!

Ranger
03-11-13, 03:39 PM
I couldn't tell what kind of business he was in.
He's a Tech at a Caddy dealer (or at least he was last I was aware).

Manic Mechanic
03-11-13, 09:49 PM
Thanks Ranger, I should have mentioned that being it was so relevant and important. Here's what he has at the bottom of his emails.

Lead Calibrator at PCM Calibrators
ASE Master Certified since 1988
ASE L1 Certified since 1994
ASE F1 & A9
GM Technician since 1999
GM World Class Technician since 2009
CSA Inspector

Suffice to say he's probably the most qualified and experienced anywhere near the OP.

Vernon

Ranger
03-11-13, 10:00 PM
Yeah he used to live about 1:30 NE of me up in MKE. Never met him though.

Submariner409
03-12-13, 11:38 AM
Yep, AJ knows his Northstars. He just had a classified ad for cylinder heads and miscellaneous parts. ALL of his stuff is still in here - begin with the sticky above this thread - Northstar head gasket failure and root causes - that's ONE of his works. Look at his threads in PCM Tuning.

robjpiel
03-12-13, 07:29 PM
Thanks for setting me up with him folks. He's going to give me quotes on a couple different options. I definitely feel better now dealing with someone that Everybody is validating.

codewize
03-16-13, 09:10 AM
So I have a question. What's the latest and greatest source for a reman or crate 2000 + N*

stoveguyy
03-16-13, 01:18 PM
U should have daveyhouse rebuild ur motor. He is pretty good. Or dedicated.

codewize
03-16-13, 10:22 PM
Well the car only has 90k on it but I have an HG issue. I have a local guy who'll do the job for $3000 but I was just wondering at that cost, what's it cost just to replace the motor with new

robjpiel
03-16-13, 11:00 PM
This is what I found...

Brand New = $4200 + install up to $6000
Rebuilt $3000 including install - all the way up to $6000

codewize
03-16-13, 11:38 PM
My train of thought was 50 - 75% or the labor will be done doing the HG job as well so whatever the labor on the engine swap is, I'm going to pay that either way.

So if a reman engine is $3000 and the HG job is $3000 but say $500 of that is the removal / replacement then for an additional $500 of the HG job I could have a fresh engine. I know most of the time is spent on the Time-Serting proccess

Maybe my numbers are off a bit but you see my thinking.

robjpiel
03-17-13, 11:50 AM
This is what I found...

Brand New = $4200 + install up to $6000
Rebuilt $3000 including install - all the way up to $6000

I wasn't able to find anyone to do any kind of swap out for less than $1000 in labor yet, that was some shady place too, everyone else wanted $2000. So add a new $4200 or rebuilt engine $3000(if you can find one that you can trust). The rebuilt installed for $3000 was only at the place in Ohio...haven't found that Anywhere else. Other than that it was $3000 just for the reman engines off Ebay. Sorry should have made that clearer...

I think I see what you are hoping for though. If I had the head gasket issue I would keep the engine unless you don't mind spending an additional 2-3k. From what I have read on here the bottom end is bullet proof and if you fix the HG for $3000 I guess you would typically be in pretty good shape. But here I am.... the only idiot in the U.S. with a bottom end problem :D

Where are you at in NY? I wish I still lived in Schenectady, I'd have you bring your car over and we could fix both of them for no labor$$$.



...And if you do have them do the HG job I would do all of post #14!!

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I forgot, if you did go with a reman engine (or new) they seem to have great warranties out there IF its installed by a licensed or certified shop...but none of the warranties I found covered labor. Just something else to consider

stoveguyy
03-17-13, 01:39 PM
Bottom end? U can get a good core motor with bad heads for 200. Any yard should have one. Than insert the block. THAN find a shop to do the swap?

codewize
03-17-13, 01:46 PM
I wasn't able to find anyone to do any kind of swap out for less than $1000 in labor yet, that was some shady place too, everyone else wanted $2000. So add a new $4200 or rebuilt engine $3000(if you can find one that you can trust). The rebuilt installed for $3000 was only at the place in Ohio...haven't found that Anywhere else. Other than that it was $3000 just for the reman engines off Ebay. Sorry should have made that clearer...

I think I see what you are hoping for though. If I had the head gasket issue I would keep the engine unless you don't mind spending an additional 2-3k. From what I have read on here the bottom end is bullet proof and if you fix the HG for $3000 I guess you would typically be in pretty good shape. But here I am.... the only idiot in the U.S. with a bottom end problem :D

Where are you at in NY? I wish I still lived in Schenectady, I'd have you bring your car over and we could fix both of them for no labor$$$.



...And if you do have them do the HG job I would do all of post #14!!

----------

I forgot, if you did go with a reman engine (or new) they seem to have great warranties out there IF its installed by a licensed or certified shop...but none of the warranties I found covered labor. Just something else to consider

OK Fair enough. I'm upstate in Catskill. Not far from Schenectady at all.

What's this reference to post #14?

robjpiel
03-17-13, 03:57 PM
Post #14....Important things you probably should do if have it pulled out.


Hey Rob, considering your predicament and have a few questions and suggestions.

On #1, first where are you? Many of us know places or resources that may or may not be on the net that could be of great help. Those two shops have decided to specialize and therefore can reduce the price because they're set up to do it quickly with a lot of experience. What you save you spend in shipping though. And realistically when you say "around $3,000" I assume that the vast majority of jobs end up $3,500-4,200 before it's done due to unforeseen issues. Once your all in you can't say no. It's not so much that I think they are misleading it's just that I'm a pro and also I'm very familiar with these cars and Northstar's now and know that there's going to be other necessary and recommended maintenance and repairs. Esp. if you want the warranty and at least 3 years more service from the rest of the car. I'm not try to scare you or cast any doubt on those guys who I have no knowledge of. I'm just trying to be a expert realist. In your decision making unless you can find a list of impartial guys who swear they all came and went just under and above $3,000 and are still happily motoring then you should assume $3,000 is the bare minimum and rarely achieved by anyone who wants to keep the car. Just my opinion. We all have to earn a living and to keep up promised expectations everything else better leave tip-top. They wouldn't want complaints because they didn't take care of any other needed things and the power-train had another failure that parked the car.

On #2. Assuming the salvage engine is under 100K I would at the minimum replace the head gaskets and stud or insert the block. Also reseal the bottom end with the latest materials and procedures. Meaning rear main seal, lower case half, and oil pan. Don't forget about the water cross-over gaskets as this is also a large in chassis job. While the engine is out I would shift the transmission over. Pull the side cover and install a new TCC solenoid that's going to burn up during the first month of reuse if you don't. That's the minimum but I went 5x further when I had mine out. The rest would be an as need or wanted basis.

Taking it to a pro will go much faster. You need to balance your time vs. money. Yes it costs more to pay but you would be very surprised how much a DIY will have to spend in time and money to achieve the same results. It's not as big a gap as you think for the first timer and definitely not worth the difference IMHO. Look at some of these DIY rebuild threads and consider as a pro doing it for the first time on open Saturdays while collecting new tools and running into snags to overcome etc. it took me about 6 months and much frustration to go through mine. You'll find things you had no clue were going bad. And I still need a tighter tailshaft housing though it's back in service. Since AJ decided there wasn't enough interests in his parts to actually "dig them out" I got one coming from an Ebay vendor this week.

Vernon

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Bottom end? U can get a good core motor with bad heads for 200. Any yard should have one. Than insert the block. THAN find a shop to do the swap?

I didn't really have much luck finding them around here...$850 was the cheapest I'd seen. But that leaves me with a bunch of work to do (full time work/full time school/two little kids= no time), plus that will end up costing around $1500-$2000 by the time I'm done...then I have to drop another 1-2k on an install anyway. When I find out that piston banged up a valve or damaged the head and not just kissed the spark plug - I'd be S.O.L. If I had time, the tools, space, and help local (Dad!), I'd do it that way for sure just to do it myself.

codewize
03-17-13, 09:17 PM
Post #14....Important things you probably should do if have it pulled out.
Ohh sorry DOH

stoveguyy
03-19-13, 12:13 PM
Yeah, it's funny. A motor with leaking headgasket actually has good heads. U take off heads and ruin block threads. U fix block threads and reinstall heads. So any core motor probably has good heads and potentially good block IF u can repair block. Local shop here will timesert ur motor for 700. That is carry out price. U give them bad motor, they give u fixed motor.

Submariner409
03-19-13, 12:35 PM
A motor with leaking headgasket actually has good heads. U take off heads and ruin block threads. U fix block threads and reinstall heads.

Not quite - ruined block threads are usually the cause of the leaking head gasket(s), not the other way around. You insert or stud the block to prevent bad threads in the future.

stoveguyy
03-19-13, 04:11 PM
Well, removing headbolts results in questionable block threads. Reuse block threads as is? Not generally accepted. So, u may have situation where block threads are good, bolts have not loosened, heads are flat AND headgasket is leaking? None can deny the steel fire ring on gasket cannot fail?

codewize
03-19-13, 10:45 PM
Yeah, it's funny. A motor with leaking headgasket actually has good heads. U take off heads and ruin block threads. U fix block threads and reinstall heads. So any core motor probably has good heads and potentially good block IF u can repair block. Local shop here will timesert ur motor for 700. That is carry out price. U give them bad motor, they give u fixed motor.

I suppose that would be OK if you weren't 1500 miles away. I'd still be sceptical of a $700 repair. That's pretty cheap. AND I don't have the facilities to pull and replace the motor.

stoveguyy
03-20-13, 09:56 AM
I see ur motor is 03. I did a quick local search and found several for 300 and a whole bunch for 500-600. All were listed as good runners, not parts motors.

codewize
03-20-13, 07:37 PM
Mine is the 02 DTS

stoveguyy
03-21-13, 08:03 PM
DTS, is that vin 9 or y?

codewize
03-21-13, 10:40 PM
DTS is VIN 9.

robjpiel
03-23-13, 06:20 PM
Thanks guys. I wish I had the time/tools/space to do this job myself. But, like I said before I don't. I'm going to get a rebuilt engine and trans installed by AJ. You guys all say that he's the man... I've pretty much ruled out any other options, and I need to be able to rely on this car quite a bit. Can't really afford to learn any lessons on this one.

1997etc
03-25-13, 05:23 PM
i brought my 1997 etc to the cadillac doctor in youngstown ohio and i had very good luck with him. i had him stud my block, replace the water pump, a/c compresor, power steering pump, oil pump and of course head gaskets. i have put about 5000 miles since i had the work done. i am from boston,ma and drove my car from boston to youngstown and back with no problems.i would recomend him.

robjpiel
03-27-13, 11:37 AM
i brought my 1997 etc to the cadillac doctor in youngstown ohio and i had very good luck with him. i had him stud my block, replace the water pump, a/c compresor, power steering pump, oil pump and of course head gaskets. i have put about 5000 miles since i had the work done. i am from boston,ma and drove my car from boston to youngstown and back with no problems.i would recomend him.

Thanks man, I was surprised no one had came forward yet, they have a good price and warranty. I did decide to go another route already though.

codewize
03-27-13, 06:43 PM
Thanks guys. I wish I had the time/tools/space to do this job myself. But, like I said before I don't. I'm going to get a rebuilt engine and trans installed by AJ. You guys all say that he's the man... I've pretty much ruled out any other options, and I need to be able to rely on this car quite a bit. Can't really afford to learn any lessons on this one.

Is AJ still around? I haven't heard form him in quite some time.

Submariner409
03-28-13, 08:47 AM
He's around, and working for Cadillac in NC. I believe that he's doing an engine for a member right now. Look for his work on early ECM's in the "PCM Tuning" thread............... his login is "pcmcalibrators"

robjpiel
03-29-13, 06:37 PM
He's in SC, just got back from dropping my car off with him woo-hoo! Can't wait till she's fixed.

codewize
03-29-13, 07:15 PM
He's around, and working for Cadillac in NC. I believe that he's doing an engine for a member right now. Look for his work on early ECM's in the "PCM Tuning" thread............... his login is "pcmcalibrators"

Sub, I knew the history, remember I'm one of the beta testers. I've had several AJ Tunes in my 01 but after he moved he stopped communicating.

codewize
04-22-13, 09:01 PM
Well thanks to my new friend Joe Tahoe, the guts are now hanging out of one of my babies. No this is a good thing....really :)

JoeTahoe
04-22-13, 10:53 PM
did ya get my text #1 cylinder failed, all head bolts pulled out good no alum. on any

codewize
04-22-13, 11:39 PM
No I didn't get your text. what does that mean? Now I got them. My phone was being stupid. Does that mean HG breach on cyl 1 without thread damage ?

maeng9981
04-23-13, 04:12 AM
Another #1 cylinder!..

JoeTahoe
04-23-13, 08:04 AM
Yes #1 and all bolts came out block threads stayed in block, nothing pulled out with bolts

JoeTahoe
04-23-13, 10:28 AM
Another #1 cylinder!..

This is the 4th one that I have seen with #1

maeng9981
04-24-13, 04:24 AM
This is the 4th one that I have seen with #1

The two Northstars I've worked on had evidences of leak on #1 cylinder. All bolts clean and no threads coming out either.

codewize
04-24-13, 05:58 AM
Interesting information. But we still TimeCert or Stud the block

JoeTahoe
04-24-13, 08:40 AM
The last two had pulled the threads out of the block, I think the twisting on the aluminum block is the most problem for torque problems

CadillacLuke24
04-25-13, 12:19 AM
I wonder what it is with the #1 cylinder. Maybe it heats quicker?