: Blown head gasket repair? 96 deville

04-25-05, 08:29 PM
Hi I just bought a 96 deville with 85,000 miles these seems to be the original miles I have a carfax report with all the details and it all checks out.

I bought the car for $1,000 its white diamond pearl and the paint and interior is excellent. I don't regret the purchase at all.

My problem is I bought this car knowing that the Head gasket was blown or leaking.

I am familar with cars but have not yet dealed with this problem on a car before.

First off what is the average price I can expect at a shop?

what's the average time and cost of parts involved?

what is the know how needed to fix this problem?

Are any special tools required?

I might just buy a junkyard motor for under a 1000 if it is my best choice and just swap the motor but if it's better to repair then I will.

Let me know what you guys think.


I've done upto a tranny replacement but I'm willing to learn what i need to do the job right and I have the time so that's not of concern as long as it's a good priced alternative all else is of no concern. Tools last a long time and they serve many uses so buying a couple tools won't be a bother.

I have a 94 fleetwood LT1 but never heard of this problem before until I read these forums and it seems quite common on the devilles Northstar isn't as great as I had heard.:rolleyes2

04-25-05, 09:22 PM
If your gonna do the job yourself, get a factory service manual. The drivetrain needs to be dropped out the bottom of the car. I have heard of one or two removing the engine from the top but It is very difficult from what I have heard. You'll need a Timesert kit to Timesert all the head bolt holes. Don'r reassemble without doing this or it is likely you'll be doing it again in 10K-20K. Price from the dealer is $3000-$4000. Search the archives for head gaskets and Timeserts. Lot of information.

04-25-05, 09:33 PM
1000$, thats a bargain! regardless of blown gasket

04-25-05, 09:47 PM
1000$, thats a bargain! regardless of blown gasket

I know I got really lucky the dealership was just rushing to get rid of this car since they bought it in running condition and it died out 2 days later they totally got ripped off they only wanted some cash and to get rid of the darn thing to minimize their losses.

I'm hopeful that I can get it up and running by the end of May for under a $1000 in parts apart from specialty tools I may need.

04-25-05, 09:51 PM
.....wow a dealership gets screwed....imagine that!

Good luck with the repairs, keep us updated.

04-25-05, 10:30 PM
I would really appreciate it if someone could tell me a rough estimate of the overall costs of parts needed to do the overhaul with timeserts and gaskets etc. and whatever else should also be replaced at this time.


04-26-05, 12:06 AM
I did my '97 for about $2K in parts. My exhaust valves were burned from overheating so much, and I replaced/rebuilt/repaired everything the car needed to last me until I am too old to drive anymore! *lol* Things like new battery and alternator, fan relays, radiator work, water pump, hoses, wiring repairs, new plugs and wires, air and fuel filters, etc., etc. The timesert kit was the biggest cost at about $450 with shipping. I bought most of my parts from the GM dealer or NAPA, but cheaper alternatives can be found at RockAuto.com. You are looking at a minimum of $1000 in parts to do a thorough job, less if you just want to do the minimum in order to sell the car or something. But if you don't have an extensive collection of good quality hand tools...don't attempt it to timesert it yourself! *lol* The old Craftsman "master mechanics set" won't cut it.

From what I've been reading, shops charge around $2-2.5K just remove the engine and do the timeserts, with little or no attention given to frayed wires, worn belts, accesories, etc. Rebuilt engines I think are selling for around $4K (exchange) if you can find one, and new crate motors from GM are selling in my area for about $6K with tax. But you will still have to swap the engines yourself or pay to have it done.

But with the price you paid for that car, any method you choose is still going to be cost effective, you lucky dog! *lol*

04-26-05, 12:56 PM
Thanks mechanix you've answered all my questions and I am thinking of going with a junkyard engine with 107K for $700 and just replace it.

I don't find it too big of a task to replace the head gasket and timesert the motor etc. but I wonder if the previous owner ran it too much after the head gasket blew and if any other parts were damaged because if I replace the head gasket only to find out that other vital parts were also damaged I would hate to do the same job twice.

I'm thinking that a junkyard motor that is in good running condition is my best alternative at the moment.Good thing is it also comes with 90 days warranty so I don't haev to worry about much except the time in replacing the motor which shouldn't be too much of a bother.

Thanks and I'll post an update as soon as I finish with the swap.

04-26-05, 05:05 PM
Sounds good. If you can swap it out yourself for a good boneyard engine, that's definitely the cheapest way to go. If it hasn't pulled the head bolts by 107K, there's a good chance it never will. Good luck! :thumbsup:

04-26-05, 08:35 PM
Read the head gasket thread in the tech section. I would pull the heads off the old one and see what condition it's in. You may not want to replace it. The heads may not need to be done.

If you go with the used engine I would timesert it (or at least replace the head gaskets ) before putting it in.

The timeserts are easy enough to put in.

04-27-05, 07:12 PM
? would my water pump leak if i have a blown head gasket?

04-27-05, 07:14 PM
my fault i have a 1994 concours.

04-27-05, 08:38 PM
? would my water pump leak if i have a blown head gasket?
No. If your water pump is leaking, you have a bad water pump.

04-27-05, 08:38 PM
Not necessarily. The water pump may start leaking (slightly) by 100K. Not enough to be a real problem but when overheating starts it's one of the first things replaced. If there is any evidence of leaking the mechanic is going to want to change it, and he's correct in doing so.

04-27-05, 09:26 PM
Don't get the 107K engine unless you rebuild it!

If you are going to keep this car, rebuild the engine AND ALL the components - A/C, Alt, Rad, Tranny, heater core, everything you can get your hands on while the engine is out. If it's a '96 it needs it all!!!

You'll have a good car IF you do all you can while you can - leave any of it out and you'll be back inside the engine compartment within the year. The head gasket job isn't that bad - but getting to it is a fu**in' nightmare.

The design characteristic of this car one of disposability - they were never meant to repair, just replace - and replacement is big $$$!!! Once you have the body away from the frame do what you can. Knowing what I know now, I'd have spent better $$$ buying a deVille with 20K and trading it in before 50K. I'd have saved thousands of dollars and had a lot less headaches!

Your mileage may vary...

Good luck!

04-27-05, 09:45 PM
I don't know...a bad head gasket that is leaking compression into the water jackets raises the pressure in the cooling system. It is conceivable that the pressure increase could cause an older water pump to start leaking...mine did.

04-28-05, 12:25 AM
The pressure isn't going to be above the relief on the cap. Running the water pump dry is more likely the problem. When the coolant blows out the waterpump is running dry and that probably is the cause of the failure.

04-28-05, 10:34 AM
That's a good point zonie77. I would say that is a more likely scenario. At any rate, it seems that water pump leakage is concurrent with head gasket failure. Doesn't it?

04-28-05, 08:40 PM
Many times it is almost concurrent and sometimes you can't tell which came first.