: Head Gasket Problem!!!

11-13-05, 05:40 PM
My 96 deville sits im my parkin lot now a days, its been 2 months since I last ran her, and when ever I try too it heats up real fast just a few blocks away (up to 250 just 3 blocks away from my house) ........ I know that a head gasket job for the northstars are real expensive and im wonderin if its really worth it to doit it, I recently before this problem I had a transmission work on my car because the car woulnt shift, It cost me $850 and thats a fair price from what I hear..........How would I go and start this head gastket job? I have a mechanic that migth wanna do the work for cheaper in my parkin lot. What special tools do I need? I dont have a lot of experiece on mechanic so If u guys can send a link explain the work i would appriteated........Also my car has every thing almost new except the motor (rebuilt transmission, water pump, thermo, radiator, new battery) so im wonderin if fixin it its worth it, and also if the job its done if there is a chance that the same problem migth appear.......Im willin to read info about this and appretiate this site because I learned so much about my car ( a lil late but yea) any info on this problem its truly appretiated.

11-13-05, 09:20 PM
:welcome: First off, be sure it is a head gasket. Many a bad thermostat, plugged purge line, slipping water pump belt tensioner etc have been miss diagnosed as head gaskets. As last resort, do a cylinder leak down test to confirm it.

Secondly, this is not a parking lot job as the drivetrain must be removed from the bottom. The engine alone has been removed from the top but it is quite difficult I am told.

Third, if you do it, be sure to Timesert all 20 headbolt holes and the problem will not reoccure. Don't and you are playing Russian roulette.

Fourth, do not attempt it without a factory service manual unless you (or whoever is doing it) has done it before.

11-13-05, 11:35 PM
It is possible to do yourself if you have a place to work, mechanical ability, and hopefuuly some friends to help. It's a fairly long job but nothing about it is real difficult. You can buy all the tools and still be way ahead of paying to have it done.

Here's more info. It's in the tech tips section.


It sounds like head gaskets but do a cylinder leakdown test to be sure. If it's as bad as you indicate a compression test will probably show it.

11-26-05, 07:52 PM
I have a question regardin the head gasket job............Hasnt all the overheatin the headgasket failure may had caused some damage on the motor? my car had been losing coolant 2 months ago so i replaced everythin u can think of(as u read at the beggin of this thread) and the car was still overheatin and losin coolant.............my point is, if i waste money and fix the headgasket woulnt there be a chance my motor will get ****ed up from all the heatin it took from the bad headgasket"? woulnt it be smarter to just rebuilt the motor while im at it? A mechanic has offered to touch my cadi and its chargin me 2000 to rebuild the motor. this a fair price? guys i really need help I recently bougth the cadi manual from my car and hopefully i would get some good info there. appretiate any help thanx

11-26-05, 08:09 PM
How hot did it get? Usually it needs nothing more than new head gaskets and Timesert all 20 head bolt holes. I've never heard of anything else that needed to be done. $2000 sounds like a good price from what I have heard if he knows what he's doing.

11-26-05, 11:24 PM
The rebuild parts are pretty expensive.

Does it runs OK when you start it? If so I would just do the gaskets. Most of the ones that people posted about got overheated multiple times and still were in good condition.

11-27-05, 01:59 AM
the car runs perfectly good, its just that now a days it heats up above 220 from me just riding the car a few blocks.....220-250 and then i shut the car off. Well there is a chance that the motor has had some damage from the heatin or not?? the car runs good, it starts good just the heatin part........ Well i will keep u guys updated on what i do, also my car has a lot of miles 170 if im not mistaken well ill double check tommorrow so woulnt be a better idea to rebuil the motor? thanks

11-27-05, 02:02 AM
Also can u explain the timesert part for me? what is timesert? im hispanic so im really not familliar with this term well if you can say it in spanish i would, well at least explain it to me so i can have a better understandin of it. thanks

11-27-05, 10:49 AM
There is no Spanish term. It's a brand name.

Did you look at the link I attached earlier? There is a link there to another site that shows somone timeserting a block. The link is at the bottom of the first post, and look at timesert.com.

As I said before, If it runs good when you drive it (except for overheating), it should run good after you replace the gaskets.

11-28-05, 10:05 PM
Same question here. I drove mine many times while it overheated and shut down. Now it chugs (missing) and the plugs are new. Isn't it better and cheaper to put in a junk yard engine? Does the risk that the used engine will leak now or in the future make it not a good option?

11-29-05, 12:07 AM
I've been burned on used engines & trans so I don't have a lot of faith in them. Plus most of the used engines have 60K on them...how many cars do you see around with 60K ??????????????????? More like 160K.

If you know something about the car it's ok to swap (like you can check the mileage or if the car was wrecked it probably was running) but I prefer to work with what I know.

Quad, Have you changed the plug wires? Done a compression test? What diagnostics have you done?

12-01-05, 11:04 PM
this is the same option a friend of mine (who is a mechanic) gave me, to swap engines from another car from the junk yard, welll that idea doesnt convice me a lot because i dont know in what condition those headgaskets will be so i woulnt know what i was gettin. Well I heard the you can actually fix a bad headgasket once u take it out if is not bad enough so I was thinkin thats the best way to fix my problem (and timesert it after that of course) , my question is if its possible to fix the headgaskets when u take them out, and when i say fix them is mostly like rebuilt them to their original form? well this is a option I would just wanna hear how many people actually fixed their headgaskets or what they did to their car after this problem arrived. thanx

12-02-05, 12:30 AM
You replace the headgaskets and the head bolts with new ones. They come together. You'll probably want to change some of the other gaskets you remove getting at the head gaskets.

I've done 2. Both are running good. Like I said...if it runs good (until it overheats) it should run good, even better, with new headgaskets.

As I also said "It is possible to do yourself if you have a place to work, mechanical ability, and hopefully some friends to help. It's a fairly long job but nothing about it is real difficult. You can buy all the tools and still be way ahead of paying to have it done."

If your friend is willing to swap engines he should be willing to do headgaskets.

Is this at his shop, or a side job, or helping a friend?

12-02-05, 05:45 PM
You don't repair gaskets, especially head gaskets. As Zonie said, you replace them. Don't even think of repairing them unless you want to do the job twice.

12-03-05, 05:48 PM
he is my dads friend, he is a mechanic and his dad has a shop. His dad dint wanna do the headgasket job because he said there was a risk they will go bad after the job its done well you know the risk of me complainin if the headgaskets go bad again. Well he dint wanna get into that, so zonie can you tell me where you purchased the bolts and the headgasket? at timesert.com? the mechanin said only place to purchase new headgaskets its at the cadi dealer. Im recently waitin for my cadi manual which i purchased at ebay and at soon at it comes i will read the info that it has about this prob. I appretiate your valuable info and for any young cats like me with this same problem i would like to say i feel your pain, this was my baby and i loved it before it got ****ed up, actually loved it more than my girl at the time and im not ready to give up on the car yet. I will keep you guys updated on what I do. peace

12-03-05, 05:51 PM
Also ranger I know this place that you actually take ur bad headgasket and if its not that messed up the will tell you if its repairable or not. Well ever heard of places that do this?

12-03-05, 09:39 PM
Headgaskets are cheap. It's the labor that kills you.
Why would you even consider trying to fix them?
I don't even think it's possible.

12-03-05, 11:02 PM
Cadi, I've never heard of a place that fixes (not replaces) head gaskets. There's no easy way and it's fairly cheap to buy new.Look at this post. It has pics.


Rockauto.com, Gmpartsdirect.com , or your local Caddy dealer. Caddy is the most expensive but a dealer here almost matched the internet price. When we called dealer for prices my brother commented how high they were and that we'd buy from internet...they said they'd try to match and they came real close, so we bought from them.

If you looked at the post I linked you can see what's involved. It would be MAJOR work for a beginner. Nothing is that hard but it is a tedious job. If you are persistent you can do it. We did the first two in my brother's back yard!

The cost of tools is high but still less than half of having it done. If you have a place to work and think your friend will help (keeps you going) then go for it!
If you have a good variety of tools you're half way there.

Gman, Sorry, it is possible. And why wouldn't you fix them?

12-04-05, 09:14 PM
$18 for each head gasket on rockauto.com? damm that sounds like a real good price, but it says without bolts..........Any of you guys purchased headgaskets on the internet? zony thanks for all your info, I gives me some hope knowin that people had this same problem with their car and have actually fixed it...... zonie are the headgaskets from those websites actually as good as the ones that I would find at the cady dealer? how many guys you heard that used parts from those sites? thanks

12-04-05, 10:21 PM
Rockauto usually has a choice of OEM or aftermarket parts. Be advised though, you must use new head bolts and Timesert all 20 bolt holes. Otherwise it is likely that they will go bad again.

12-04-05, 10:54 PM
Ranger in your opinion is it good too purchase the headgaskets from that website?

12-05-05, 03:35 PM
Yeah, I looked them up and they are made by Fel-Pro, a well known name of quality gaskets. I wouldn't hesitate. The head bolts are sold seperately for $27.

12-09-05, 11:04 PM
anything else I need to purchase besides the headgaskets, bolts, and timesertkit? thanks

12-10-05, 09:17 PM
Read the head gasket thread in tech tips. It lists a lot of tools you'll need.

Most of the gaskets are reuseable but...they are getting old. If they seem hard, look deformed, or have been leaking, replace them. This would be intake, cam cover, spark plug o-rings, crossover gaskets. It'll cost a little more but you will avoid nuisance leaks later. If they look good and feel soft you can reuse them. I know this is hard when you don't have experience judging how hard they are. I'd lean towards replacing them automatically.