: Just bought a 97 STS

02-03-03, 11:54 AM
I have been wanting an STS for several years now and just purchased one. It has 88K miles and runs like a dream. Is there anything special I should know about these northstar engines other than the oil consumption and the oil leaking they are known for. I have a friend of mine who used to work in a caddy dealership in the shop. So repairs can be done real cheap w/o labor costs (will work for beer). He said these engines are virtually indestructible and will run forever as long as you keep up on routine maintenance.


Scott Weston

1997 STS
1996 Grand Prix SE
1982 El Camino

02-03-03, 12:30 PM
Congratulations on your purchase.. And welcome to the site! Thank you for signing up.. You've got a long road ahead of you with that STS. I'm glad you like it.. If you don't have a warranty, then it's a good thing you've got someone to help you out with repairs.. Beer is cheap. :D I think you have everything covered regarding known issues...

Enjoy the car! And spread the word about us! :)

02-03-03, 12:38 PM
Indestructable? Well maybe if you're not talking about the top-end ;)
Yes, it's a damn nice engine but it's been stricken with the dreaded Cadillac aluminum engine curse. Weak point is unfortunately the head gaskets. So just like all the others, don't let it overheat.

02-03-03, 04:24 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the overheating issue. I don't drive my cars to hard nor do I intend to do any racing with it. What is the issue on some of this overheating? Has there been any known causes for this? I dont redline it nor plan to very often. Cept when passing grandma hogging both lanes on the interstate. Does anyone have estimated costs on new gaskets... just parts please.

Mine has that oil leak like most everyone's, very slow and minute but still the bottom of the pan is always wet. It is snowing and I wish I had a hand e-brake. I can't supress the urge to go whip shitty's in the parking lot.

- Scott -

02-03-03, 06:54 PM
Well about the overheating, the car runs hot anyway, ~210 degrees. The main reason for overheating is mainly the neglect of maintenance to the cooling system. And this causes the head bolts to strip, and coolant can get into places it shouldnt. It has nothing to do with redlining or even racing. YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF IT, and it will take care of you. Cost of the head gasket is nominal, but if the bolts strip you will need to time sert them. That requires putting in little inserts and new bolts. very time consuming, you have to take the engine out and junk.

The funny thing is all this can be prevented with proper maintenance. It is much easier with yours, because yours uses dex-cool, which needs to be replaced every 100k. Also, when replacing coolant, you should use the coolant supplement pellets. What are they and what do they do? You stick them in there and they plug up holes and offer more protection. You can get them at a dealer, and some auto parts store.

02-03-03, 07:44 PM
Excellent and thanks for the info. I bought this car saturday from a dealer and they just got it in on trade that morning. It hasn't even been detailed yet so I got to see how well the previous owner took care of it. It looks decent shape cept for a small crack in the lower air dam, but it isnt noticable unless you are on ylour hands n knees looking for flaws. Other than that there are other details beeing fixed that were in the buy contract. Like replace not turn all rotors. Fix a problem with wipers staying on all the time. Had to remove fuse to turn off. Switch broken. Ive had this happen on another gm car. And there was one other thing that I cant remember other than finish the detail wax n buff and standard inside out treatment. I had my guy who used to work for a caddy dealership inspect it and said it is in sound condition.

Until they finish with the stuff I am stuck driving a chrysler concord... not even in the same class of car. I am having withdrawls here ;)

Glad to be part of this community and I hope it expands like wild fire. I know the other forums like chevytalk.org are a wealth of knowledge on performance and maintenance. I never would have been able to get my el camino rocking w/o them. Hope the same happens here on this board.

Thanks again.

- Scott Weston -

97 STS

02-03-03, 07:48 PM
We will certainly try our best