: My story: HG headgasket failure

07-24-14, 11:20 AM
It seems to be a very slooooooooow death.

My symptoms: exhaust smell in coolant, very slow coolant loss, temperature gauge will get up to the first "tick" mark occasionally, positive block test

The car has 109k miles on it now, I would guess that the failure first started 4,000 miles ago.

I am going to have Midwest Cadillac Repair in Chicago repair it. I would like to wait until this fall when I have more time and money.

Right now I drive like a grandma. I try to keep it under 2,500 rpm. I am still able to use the air, go on the interstate, etc. and we are in the 90's right now. We'll see how long I can put off the fix, but I have to be careful not to take it so far I can't drive it the 5 hours to the shop. I'll update occasionally.

07-24-14, 11:34 AM
Bummer - If you can limp it to Joe at Midwest you'll never have to worry again - given proper maintenance.

07-24-14, 02:57 PM
It seems to be a very slooooooooow death.
They always are.

07-26-14, 01:19 AM
Funny my Deville had it failed at around 109000 miles also.

07-26-14, 06:13 AM
It's really sad for such a good motor......

Like I always say, it's not if it's going to go, it's a question of when it's going to go.......

08-08-14, 06:30 PM
Update: 109,300 miles

Had my first real overheat. The temp gauge started creeping and wouldn't go down.

I was running it harder than I have in a long time (late for a meeting), it's hot out and the air was on. I think what happened is running it harder put extra exhaust in the system, thus creating an air block at the water pump. I couldn't get the heat to pump out any heat, thus there was no circulation of coolant.

Just a little wait and I must have had enough coolant trickle into the water pump, was back on the road in 20 min, blasting the heat.

I'll have to keep my foot out of the gas if I'm gonna keep milking my time.

09-07-14, 08:55 PM
And I'm at the point where it's not safe to drive anymore and I also pushed it far enough I can't drive it 5 hours to Midwest Cadillac, I'll have to drag it.
I hydrolocked the engine after not driving it for a few days, it leaked enough coolant into the cylinder that the starter would not spin the motor, fortunately I do not believe I have internal damage, but that is still to be determined

Summary for all those trying to milk a head bolt failure: I was able to drive it about 5,000 miles. I'm at 110,000 miles, I believe the first symptoms occurred at 105,000 miles, and I diagnosed it with a block test around 107,500. I drove like a grandma the last 2,500 miles. I only overheated once. The amount of coolant loss was surprisingly low, it would drop about 3/4 inch over a week.

I'm going to have it fixed. IF I was driving it into the ground, it would probably be possible to use some sort of sealant and get another 1,000+? more miles (while clogging the coolant system)

10-10-14, 09:43 PM
I'm off early in morning to take the cadi to Joe at Midwest Cadillac Repair in Illinois. Pulling it on a car trailer.

10-11-14, 10:55 PM
Picture on the trip. Heavy wide trailer, didn't make for a relaxing drive. Now it's in Joe's hands.

10-12-14, 10:18 AM
Look at it this way: The car - especially a real DTS - is well worth saving.

Personally, I'm glad that you decided to overhaul it rather than dump it on a scrap heap.

10-13-14, 12:20 PM
Joe will make you happy! When he did mine , I couldnt even tell if the work had been done. Every nut bolt and hose was exactly where it was when I brought it in. No extra dirt sealeant or junk any where. Car ran better than new .over 2 years later no problems at all!

10-16-14, 11:25 PM
So how did it go?

10-17-14, 09:52 AM
So how did it go?

I'll pick it up this weekend, taking a bus. Talked to Joe about how it went, very impressed. So glad I took the extra effort to take it to him. He also did things like: new waterpump, new crossover, thermostat gasket, ground wire, plugs, etc.

10-19-14, 09:52 AM
There another Northstar gets to be back on the road. Enjoy the car.

10-19-14, 07:09 PM
I got the Cadi back home. Joe more than lived up to his reputation. Besides doing a bunch of "need to do's" and keeping his fees very reasonable, he also made arrangements for me to pick up the car early on a Sunday!! I'll text him this week to see what # I am, but I know it is close to 400.

The bad (not Joe's fault): I STILL haven't been able to enjoy the cadi.
I'll summarize: 8 hour packed bus ride with a layover through Chicago and then some issues getting a taxi, I was really looking forward to a high speed 6 hour cruise home with the car. Unfortunately 10 minutes down the road I suspected a bad front hub bearing, 50 miles later I KNEW it was bad. I spent the next three hours cringing at the noises. I stopped three hours from home and tried to arrange a tow = $400! Over the phone I did some research and decided I could still drive on the bad bearing without dying. By the time I got home I was doing 55 on the interstate, pissing people off, and the bearing was howling. Guess I'll put a hub in tomorrow night, THEN I'll enjoy it.
I'm lucky it didn't seize.

10-19-14, 09:07 PM
FWIW, you could have drove on the noisy hub. It's not something that catastrophically fails.

But the ride will be much more enjoyable with it replaced :yup: .

10-19-14, 09:24 PM
Jack it up at least and check for play. My 2010 Sierra made no noise at all and had a loose hub. Most Cadillacs will get noisy but rarely loose. The noise is usually just a warning.

10-20-14, 09:42 AM
FWIW, you could have drove on the noisy hub. It's not something that catastrophically fails.

But the ride will be much more enjoyable with it replaced :yup: .

I wish I had someone to tell me that the last three hours of my drive!

Just to clarify: I wanted to get a tow 200 miles out, but it was too expensive, so I kept driving it after a little bit of research. I slowed down as much as possible and kept both hands on the wheel.

It does take quite a bit of will power to get up to speed with it making noise and cars/semis all around you.