: years headgaskets go bad?



starfox86
11-15-05, 12:22 AM
i have a 2000 sls w/96000...i was wondering if i should worry about the headgaskets goin on it. i asked the manager at the local cadillac dealer the other day when i was there getting my car serviced...he said that he has had quite a few cars come in for headgasket jobs...even 2000-> years .does anyone have a 2000-> n* that needed new hgaskets?

JimD
11-15-05, 01:04 AM
Follow the coolant service schedule of 100,000 miles or 5 years. Simply replace / refresh the Dex-Cool mixture, which will refresh the corrosion inhibitors, and you can relax.

You can search the archives for 'head gaskets' until your eyes are tired and you will find that (almost all) head gasket failures can be traced to coolant sytem neglect. The evidence is there.

Adding the coolant system supplement is cheap insurance for other nuisance coolant leaks.

And, none of the double underline emphasis is mine. That has been added by advertisers.

weister42
11-15-05, 02:09 AM
My car has just over 102K and I haven't had the coolant changed, should I wait until the info display tells me so? My car was spent on the highway until about 98K, which was when I bought the car.

JimD
11-15-05, 11:43 AM
There is no "change coolant" message.

blb
11-15-05, 12:00 PM
I had a chance last week to talk to an acquaintence who is a technician at a large Caddy Dealership and asked him if he has seen the incidence of headgasket repairs declining with the newer Northstars. His answer was that no particular year seems to be any better than any other, going all the way back to '93. The newest Northstar that he personally had to do the headgasket repair on was an '02 with 62,000 miles. This, of course, dispells the myth that all headgasket failures are due to a lack of cooling system maintenance.

CadillacSTS42005
11-15-05, 12:43 PM
the answer is ALL

eldorado1
11-15-05, 12:43 PM
2 out of 3 guys I *personally* know with a northstar have had a headgasket go. I'm the 3rd guy... :suspense: :crying2:

weister42
11-15-05, 01:11 PM
So I should change the coolant even though the car's been on the highway most of its life and the engine temp seems to be very stable (around town ~196 ~222, highway is 196 steady)?

95Concours
11-15-05, 01:20 PM
So I should change the coolant even though the car's been on the highway most of its life and the engine temp seems to be very stable (around town ~196 ~222, highway is 196 steady)?

Follow the maintenance schedule. If it says to change after 100k (the orange stuff) and your car has 102k, then you're 2k over the limit. I'd go change it, it's cheap insurance.

mcowden
11-15-05, 03:09 PM
...

brmurph
11-15-05, 06:21 PM
I just had the head gaskets done on my car at 99,000 miles and the cooling system was changed more often then recommended with factory dexcool (admittedly they did use tap water instead of distilled water, all done by the dealer).

jmb
11-15-05, 06:28 PM
...

Ranger
11-15-05, 09:25 PM
jmb,
You must remember, that a Cadillac tech only sees the cars with problems. He never sees the ones with no problems. That could lead you to believe that ALL Cadillacs have head gasket problems. We all know that is not true.

While cooling system maintanence is the single most important factor in preserving head gaskets, it is certainly not a guarantee. They can and do fail occassionaly, even on a well maintained engine. I think it is one of the draw backs of aluminum engines and is not a Northstar phenomenon.

eldorado1
11-15-05, 09:57 PM
I think it is one of the draw backs of aluminum engines and is not a Northstar phenomenon.

I disagree. There are many more head gasket problems on northstars than other aluminum block engines. I think it's just a function of thread design and/or engagement length. Headgasket corrosion can be fixed with proper maintenance. Loss of head bolt torque cannot.

mcowden
11-15-05, 10:07 PM
I apologize for airing my opinion so forcefully earlier. I've removed my dumb post and the rebuttal. I'll keep my personal opinions out of public forums from now on.

That said, I do remember reading in the past that the rate of head gasket failures has been declining in recent years. Maybe the changes they've made to the bolts and block threads has improved the situation. Either way, cooling system maintenance is key to prevention, but it's not 100% foolproof. The vast majority of Northstars never have the problem, but unfortunately a small percentage do have a head gasket failure even with perfect cooling system maintenance. Mechanics know how many of them fail and which years are worse just as much as a shoe salesman does. The only true statistics would be from GM, and they certainly aren't sharing.

brmurph
11-16-05, 12:43 PM
I apologize for airing my opinion so forcefully earlier. I've removed my dumb post and the rebuttal. I'll keep my personal opinions out of public forums from now on.
That said, I do remember reading in the past that the rate of head gasket failures has been declining in recent years. Maybe the changes they've made to the bolts and block threads has improved the situation. Either way, cooling system maintenance is key to prevention, but it's not 100% foolproof. The vast majority of Northstars never have the problem, but unfortunately a small percentage do have a head gasket failure even with perfect cooling system maintenance. Mechanics know how many of them fail and which years are worse just as much as a shoe salesman does. The only true statistics would be from GM, and they certainly aren't sharing.

No problem, we all can get emotional over the cars we love (and yes I still love me Deville, even after having to replace the head gaskets). I do wonder if it would make sense to let blb back on the board though?? I have looked at most of his previous post and could not find anything bad (no personal attacks or bad language) just one mans opinion and isn't that what these forums are all about? After all we have not resorted to censorship have we?

Ranger
11-16-05, 08:14 PM
I disagree. There are many more head gasket problems on northstars than other aluminum block engines. I think it's just a function of thread design and/or engagement length. Headgasket corrosion can be fixed with proper maintenance. Loss of head bolt torque cannot.
Well, I do not have any data on other engines, but I do recall our friend "Rob" mentioning that several other manufacturers have had their share of problems. I also recall a lengthy explanation about aluminum, it's strenght and faults. It would be interesting to know if most of the head gasket failures are from deteriorated gaskets or pulled threads. I'm sure that is something we will never know.

eldorado1
11-16-05, 11:54 PM
Well neither do I, but the aluminum block LS1 was introduced almost 10 years ago, and you never hear of them having head gasket problems... In fact, I haven't heard anything negative about the 3.5 "shortstar" and 4.0L versions of the northstar either...

On the flip side, the oldsmobile 2.3 "quad 4" was/is notorious for blowing headgaskets, perhaps even more so than the northstar.

blb
12-02-05, 07:12 PM
Well neither do I, but the aluminum block LS1 was introduced almost 10 years ago, and you never hear of them having head gasket problems... In fact, I haven't heard anything negative about the 3.5 "shortstar" and 4.0L versions of the northstar either...

On the flip side, the oldsmobile 2.3 "quad 4" was/is notorious for blowing headgaskets, perhaps even more so than the northstar.

Exactly right, Eldo1........ And before the "quad 4", in the early 80's it was the Brazillian built 1.8L engines that were commonly found in Sunbirds and Skyhawks that had major headgasket issues. In contrast, the 2.0L engines used in the Cavaliers of the same era that utilized the cast iron block / cast iron head configuration almost never had headgasket problems, although in later years (late 80's), the 2.0L was changed to an aluminum head / cast iron block configuration.

auroradude
12-02-05, 07:19 PM
You guys that wait til the 100k mark, or even over as the one guy did are really crazy. Do you really think there is any life left at even 90k? No. Every 30-40k sounds adequate to me. Its only $100....whats the deal in waiting an hour or so for a job to be done?

mcowden
12-02-05, 07:58 PM
You guys that wait til the 100k mark, or even over as the one guy did are really crazy. Do you really think there is any life left at even 90k? No. Every 30-40k sounds adequate to me. Its only $100....whats the deal in waiting an hour or so for a job to be done?

If it's so bad to wait until 100k, why do GM, Texaco, and Prestone all say it's fine for 5 years or 100k? The key seems to be changing it when required and keeping the system free of air bubbles, which is what the vapor vent line is for. If that gets plugged up, say by putting Bar's Leaks in the surge tank, lots of problems could result.

Ranger
12-02-05, 08:35 PM
You guys that wait til the 100k mark, or even over as the one guy did are really crazy. Do you really think there is any life left at even 90k? No.

Is this just an opinion or do you know something that the rest of us (not to mention the chemists and engineers) don't know?

auroradude
12-03-05, 02:07 AM
Pure opinion really..no factual basis to that post. I change my green antifreeze every year. And duh dexcool is a lot different. I loked into it but not really heavily researched it. The reason i got my aurora is because my good friend who is 18 has a 99 STS and i got hooked on northstars.hes really lucky cause his dad gave it to him. Anyway, he changes the dexcool every 30k and so has his dad when he drove it since new, has 164k on it now and runs perfect. Oil changes every 2k etc. You guys say i overmaintain my car. I dont think i do, but just my opinion. I love the peace of mind also. I would very easily pay $3-400 every year just to have all my fluids changed than pay what, 2 grand or more for a used engine or a headgasket set. Not saying its foolproof, but usually the only real reason BS happens is because people just dont maintain enough..or they just dont care.

There was a guy ni the shop that said his car has 90k on it and hes done oil changes every 10k and that it starts up every morning and runs fine. I blew my airhorn at him for that when he drove out. You just dont do that..