: Pre-diagnosing HG issues?



starbond
03-25-14, 06:37 PM
I'm currently in the market for another car after my 98 Deville developed HG issues at only 94k miles. Block test changed color, mayo in the coolant, etc etc.
So, I am looking at a 97 STS at a dealer, 156k miles, pretty clean throughout, but aside from a block test, is there anyway to tell if I'll get HG issues 1 month/3 months/6months/ever after I buy it?
Or do I just cut my losses and factor in a HG replacement (2 grand) into my car budget?

MoistCabbage
03-25-14, 06:42 PM
Assuming it has no HG issues now, there's NO way to tell if it'll happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, or never. And other than changing the coolant every 2-3 years to keep corrosion from becoming an issue, there is NO way to prevent it. That said, it is by no means inevitable.

As far as putting money aside, you should do so regardless of HG issues. These are not cheap cars to maintain. Especially after 156,000 miles.

starbond
03-25-14, 06:50 PM
Am I just better off keeping my Deville and getting the bolts redone? The CadillacDoctor is only 2 hours from me after all. I'd just hate the fact of owning TWO cars with bad northstars down the road, because i'm betting the dealer would give me zilch for a trade in value on the Deville..

97EldoCoupe
03-25-14, 07:13 PM
Dale Davis (aka Cadillac Doctor) is not using our patent-pending (approved technically) cylinder head studs. He's using knockoffs.

Please support the original inventor of the SureGrip studs and purchase direct from us, even if you go to him for repairs.

All the best starbond, these cars are meant to be fixed and driven.

starbond
03-25-14, 07:21 PM
I was not aware of that, thank you for letting me know. If I had the space/tools/time I'd replaced them myself but I just don't. Are you saying I can take your studs to him and he'll use them?

97EldoCoupe
03-25-14, 09:06 PM
Thank you for your consideration :) I don't know if he would or not. Asking first would probably be best. Be prepared for an unusual response.

How soon are you looking to have this done starbond?

MoistCabbage
03-25-14, 09:17 PM
Hmm, the CadillacFoctor website doesn't even mention studs. It says the drill/tap the holes and use new head bolts :hmm: , but the picture shows studs??

97EldoCoupe
03-25-14, 09:34 PM
We use special head studs made just for the wonderful, powerful, reliable Cadillac Northstar Engines.


He took speedygman's pic of his built Northstar without permission. He took excerpts of my website without permission. Now claims over 4000 repaired, I have to question that. We have done well into the 500 mark at our shop; and I thought that was a lot.

MC, you had Powertrain Automotive in Wickliffe Ohio build your engine when I couldn't help you properly. How would you rate their services? I remember they have always been good to me, just haven't heard from them in a while. David I believe is the owner; really nice guy-

Ranger
03-25-14, 09:41 PM
The other option is to look for a 2000+. The odds of a HG failure are much less than with a pre-2000.

starbond
03-25-14, 09:44 PM
@97Eldo Haha, that is to be expected. Well right now I have two (three?) options
1.) Keep my deville and get the HGs fixed
2.)Get another Cadillac (Eldo, STS, something smaller) and trade in the Deville for cheap
3.) same at 2. but keep the deville at my parents house until I get enough money to get the HGs fixed

My current car will not make it past spring, so I'm trying to get another car now, hence why I started the thread. There are many affordable Sevilles/Eldos out there but there's no way of knowing if the N* will go kaboom after I buy it.

@Ranger
I've considered that as well, but 00+ models are even more rare to see, and those who have them want 10K plus for such

MoistCabbage
03-25-14, 09:49 PM
Powertrain did an excellent job. My car was shipped there with 3 cardboard boxes of loose nuts, bolts, brackets, sensors, and a bunch of other assorted things. They got it all back together, no problem. They sent pictures throughout the process. Installed my painted valve covers, coil cassettes, and engine over without a scratch. They had one of the employees drive the car for 2 days to make sure there were no problems. They even washed the car before it was shipped back.

And yes, it was David.

----------


There are many affordable Sevilles/Eldos out there but there's no way of knowing if the N* will go kaboom after I buy it.It sounds like you're just uncomfortable with the Northstar. In that case, it's probably not worth having one that hasn't been inserted/studded.

starbond
03-25-14, 10:04 PM
It sounds like you're just uncomfortable with the Northstar.

I wouldnt say that I'm uncomfortable with it. After all I've been driving my deville for 3 years and I'm looking at another Cadillac as a new car as well.

MoistCabbage
03-25-14, 10:11 PM
Yeah but now you've had the failure, and what I'm getting from your posts is that you're assuming its inevitable. But maybe you're just wanting to put money aside as a "just in case", and there's nothing wrong with that.

Look at it this way:

Do you still like your Deville?
Does it need any other mechanical or cosmetic repairs?
Could you get as nice a car for the cost of repair?

starbond
03-25-14, 10:30 PM
I would say it's more of a just in case. Even if the HGs go bad in a year or so, I just dont want to be the unlucky guy who drives off the lot and the next day it overheats. Long shot but you know what I mean.

Yes I love the Deville. Which is why I'm leaning on keeping it after I get a new one. But I have graduate school coming up. Traveling and that sort of thing. My landbarge Deville days are about over sadly. I know the Seville/Eldo isnt much of size difference, but it sure beats a Civic.

97EldoCoupe
03-26-14, 12:57 AM
Ranger I respect and value your opinion. But without hard evidence, I'd have to say that the rate of failure had not improved until 2004. The only advantage the 2000-2003's have above the 93-99, speaking only in regards to head gasket failure prevention, would be the decreased compression ratio. We've had lots of 2000+ come through the shop. Only a handful of 04+. Remember everyone, it's time, not mileage. Lowest mileage Caddy I fixed had 25,000 miles on the clock and it was a Limo from Winnipeg. Immaculate and original, I believe it was a 1997 model.

HG's rust away and the bolts let go.... I've seen either/or happen, often both. Change your coolant and keep the level maintained, when changing coolant make sure you have no air in the system afterward, that is the best preventative measure you can take. When the center core of the head gasket corrodes away the problems begin.

Nothing can be done about the galvanic corrosion of the factory head bolt hole threads. It's a problem waiting to happen, some will experience failure, others will get lucky and they will never have to fix it.

Dex........lots of arguments regarding the use of it. I use green universal coolant, mixed 70/30, but in all honesty dex will never pose an issue if it is changed regularly AND far more often than the recommended 5 year intervals. I still have a parts car in the Caddy barn with a cracked block (97 Aurora) and I've been watching this mound of crystals build from the dex on the aluminum surface for the past 5 years. It WILL block rads and coolant passages if left sitting. I don't like it. It gets corrosive enough to eat (severely pit) the surfaces of blocks and heads. So for those who are die-hard fans of dex-cool, change it regularly and you'll be fine. A car will never leave my shop with that coolant in the system though. N*Caddy is the one exception, his 97 STS is being kept original as can be, (with a few professionally installed goodies) so he's running dex. He also treats that car better than most people treat their family pet - so the coolant will be changed before it ever will get corrosive.

I have the production numbers for every year Northstar. They made a lot of these great engines, they were the most popular in the late 90's. I believe 1999 was the highest year of Northstar production, + there was a select number of blocks that had the head bolt holes machined too deep at Livonia so that makes sense as to why 1999 seems to have the most problems.

starbond- do not be afraid of the Northstars. You're being wise and thinking ahead, but just make sure that you don't get Northstar Fever (many watch the temp guage like a hawk, afraid of the dreaded HG issue). Drive it and enjoy it; fix it when it shows symptoms. Or before if finances allow. And FOR SURE it beats a civic 100 times over, it's really nice to see younger people like ourselves driving such fine cars. There's plenty out there; and often can be picked up for a very reasonable price.

----------

AND instead of payments on a 2014 Civic, those payments can be put toward nice Vogue rims and tires like MoistCabbage has. I have always been a fan of Lexani, but for me, money always seems to go into the business. Someday I will buy a nice set of 18's for my Eldo.....:D

MoistCabbage
03-26-14, 01:05 AM
I have Vogue rims, but NOT vogue tires. I would only recommend those for a show car, it one that is barely driven. Expensive and don't ride/handle very well at all.

I have Cooper CS4 tires on my car now, and I'm very happy with them.

I say if you're happy with the car, fix it.

starbond
03-26-14, 01:06 AM
97Eldo, once upon a time I never thought my deville would get HG failure, after all it was only at 94k when it happened. Now I cling to the temp sensor, watching it rise..212F..220F...230F. As long as there is airflow (ie car is moving faster than 40mph) it cools down the car enough to keep the temp ~212. I also get the warning light for low oil pressure. It's a sad sight but the car will be saved someday, after all, once a dealer found out there was HG problems, how much would he really give as a trade in value? Not enough to part with the car I'm guessing.

More to the point, is a block test something I can ask the dealer to do before I buy? OR can I use the failed HG N* as leverage to talk the price down? Most dealers that have shown me Cadillacs in the past have NO idea what the northstar is except buzzwords like "V8! 300hp! Best engine!"

Lastly, I was briefly considering a Lexus LS400, but RWD does not work in Ohio that well.. but funny how much the late 90s Sevilles look like them.. :bigroll:

MoistCabbage
03-26-14, 01:15 AM
Don't rely on the dealer to test the coolant. You can get a block test kit through the loan a tool program at most parts stores.

Take the kit with you, take the car on a test drive, and drive it HARD, plenty of WOT. Perform the test after the test drive. ANY color change, walk. If the seller complains, walk.

starbond
03-26-14, 01:19 AM
I meant having him do it in front me so I could see it for myself but I know what you mean. I'll check with my local Autozone and see what they have. Worse case there is a NAPA store nearby.
You say do it after the drive, makes sense but.. Open the surge tank once the coolant is hot? Is that a good idea?

EDIT: Figured I'd link to the car I'm looking at which sparked this whole thread http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=43201&endYear=2015&showcaseOwnerId=65450171&startYear=1981&makeCode1=CAD&listingType=used&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=6000&showcaseListingId=362816565&mmt=[CAD[][]]&listingId=350456615&Log=0
Looked at it today and the battery was dead, so I'll be back again tomorrow or the next day. Might be able to use the dead battery to knock off some $ too.

MoistCabbage
03-26-14, 01:27 AM
You should want a while fit the system to cool. Completely cool takes several hours, but drive it go back in 2 hours, and you can open it SLOWLY and CAREFULLY.

The link says the listing's expired.

starbond
03-26-14, 01:29 AM
Right right, that makes sense now. Thanks! This should fix it
http://www.automotiveliquidatorsonline.com/used/CADILLAC/1997-CADILLAC-SEVILLE-3b393cd70a0a006501c0f73a47eb9816.htm

MoistCabbage
03-26-14, 01:33 AM
They're beautiful cars. I had a White Diamond '97 SLS.

starbond
03-26-14, 01:53 AM
My father leased Cadillacs all through the 90s, he had a SLS i think in 98, before leasing an Eldo for the next two years. As I kid I always remembered those cars.

EDIT: If I had a little more money, and it didnt have an landau top..this would be my pick:
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=43201&endYear=2015&listingType=used&listingTypes=used&transmissionCode=AUT&transmissionCodes=AUT&maxPrice=6000&showcaseListingId=0&mmt=[CAD[][]TOYOTA[AVALON[]][]LEXUS[][]]&makeCode2=TOYOTA&modelCode2=AVALON&showcaseOwnerId=65450171&makeCode1=CAD&startYear=1981&numRecords=50&makeCode3=LEXUS&searchRadius=25&listingId=368221523&Log=0

basscatt
03-26-14, 11:09 PM
I meant having him do it in front me so I could see it for myself but I know what you mean. I'll check with my local Autozone and see what they have. Worse case there is a NAPA store nearby.
You say do it after the drive, makes sense but.. Open the surge tank once the coolant is hot? Is that a good idea?

EDIT: Figured I'd link to the car I'm looking at which sparked this whole thread http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=43201&endYear=2015&showcaseOwnerId=65450171&startYear=1981&makeCode1=CAD&listingType=used&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=6000&showcaseListingId=362816565&mmt=[CAD[][]]&listingId=350456615&Log=0
Looked at it today and the battery was dead, so I'll be back again tomorrow or the next day. Might be able to use the dead battery to knock off some $ too.
---------------------------------
I meant having him do it in front me so I could see it for myself
I would NEVER suggest a dealer might do something LESS then honorable -
BUT - water with blue food coloring would look the same - and not react -
I'm just saying -

=======================

$5200 - for a year 17 old Seville - with 156,000 miles on it - REALLY?

fair market valve is $2500 -

full-boat retail is $3500 -

http://www.kbb.com/cadillac/seville/1997-cadillac-seville/sts-touring-sedan-4d/?condition=good&vehicleid=7368&intent=buy-used&mileage=156000&pricetype=retail

starbond
03-27-14, 12:15 AM
Yikes, thanks basscatt for that, didnt realized it was that far over KBB value. I dont suppose I could talk it down to that price. I might have to look elsewhere...

MoistCabbage
03-27-14, 12:22 AM
Oh wow! I didn't even notice the price.

FWIW, NADA lists clean retail at $4,025. They actually ADD $100 for the mileage.

starbond
03-27-14, 01:03 AM
Seems around here Cabbage ALL Sevilles and Eldos at any dealer are waay about KBB/NADA values. I dont know if it's because it has the word Cadillac on it or what, but the only models that are cheap are the Devilles..
Even Edmunds gives that STS a ~$2500 for a dealer. If I presented the calculations (KBB and NADA and Edmunds) to the dealer (assuming everything else is ok with the car) is there any realistic possibility of getting the price down?

MoistCabbage
03-27-14, 03:26 AM
If imagine there would be some wiggle room if the dealer is half normal. It's in good shape, but it doesn't have freakishly low mileage, and it's not a particularly desirable/collectible car.

FWIW, ~5 years ago, I paid ~$3,800 for my '97 SLS, 57,000 miles, pristine except for the shift knob. However, that was an Ebay auction.

Ranger
03-27-14, 11:37 AM
Yikes, thanks basscatt for that, didnt realized it was that far over KBB value. I dont suppose I could talk it down to that price. I might have to look elsewhere...
They ALWAYS start high because every once in a while a fish comes along and bites and they reel him in at asking price. You can ALWAYS go down and the higher you start, the higher you end up. ALWAYS compare asking price to KBB & NADA and go from there.

basscatt
03-27-14, 07:17 PM
Seems around here Cabbage ALL Sevilles and Eldos at any dealer are waay about KBB/NADA values. I dont know if it's because it has the word Cadillac on it or what, but the only models that are cheap are the Devilles..
Even Edmunds gives that STS a ~$2500 for a dealer. If I presented the calculations (KBB and NADA and Edmunds) to the dealer (assuming everything else is ok with the car) is there any realistic possibility of getting the price down?
------------------------
they are starting at an unrealistically high price -

your opening offer should be equally low - $2500 -

when the salesman keels over from a heart-attack -
or tells you he can't even take that offer to his boss -

simply get up and walk away -

REMEMBER THIS - THE FIRST ONE TO FLINCH LOSES -

=================

for $5000 you can get a nice 2000+ Seville STS

starbond
03-30-14, 09:06 PM
Just an update, went to look at that car. Super clean interior, leather in good shape electronics work fine. although the glazing on the wood trim was cracked (common problem it seems)
However.Left rear muffler was about rusted off the line, barely held on by the hanger. tires were uneven as expected. Making left turns caused the wheel to stiffen up. Pushed the N* pretty hard, temp needle stayed in the middle, but the RPM got up to 5-6k on a hard accel (is that normal?). It's sad.. features-wise the car is pretty loaded, even has a sunroof, black/black STS.. but the rust would be a deal breaker. At the end of the drive the dealer says he would work with me to get the muffler fixed up if I were to buy the car. Lots of issues for an asking $5200 car, haha! I guess I'll keep looking!

MoistCabbage
03-30-14, 10:00 PM
Sounds more like an $1,800 car.

Ranger
03-30-14, 10:24 PM
the RPM got up to 5-6k on a hard accel (is that normal?).
If you keep you foot in the firewall long enough, yes it won't shift til it redlines.

starbond
03-30-14, 10:50 PM
Sounds more like an $1,800 car.
It really is. I dont understand how the dealer could even justify the 5200 he wanted for it.

And thanks Ranger. The Deville always had the RPMs hidden in the menus so I never really paid attention

MoistCabbage
03-30-14, 11:15 PM
It really is. I dont understand how the dealer could even justify the 5200 he wanted for it.Its shiny and says Cadillac... :bigroll:

Ranger
03-30-14, 11:24 PM
I dont understand how the dealer could even justify the 5200 he wanted for it.

Because every now and then someone will pay asking price. Even if they don't, the higher you start, the higher you usually end up when all is said and done.