: Head Gasket Going

05-27-06, 12:22 PM
I have a bit of a problem. My Eldorado has about 96k on it and is in perfect condition othr than a little problem.... one of the head gaskets is about the go and now I have a little decision to make.

I love the car to death but it seems to me that it might be getting to that age where a lot of problems are going to start comming up. I'm not sure if I should just seal it up, tell the next buyer and sell it and maybe get a Lexus or something. Or if I should just fix it. The car has already had the AC compressor replaced, a solinoid, wiring harness inside th transmission, and alternator.

As you can see a lot has already been fixed so I don't know what the hell I want to do.

For everyone that has had the headgasket replaced, how much does it usually cost? Do they need to pull the engine or can a good Cadillac mechanic do it with the engine in?

05-27-06, 12:50 PM
Well I'm no expert on the Northstar, but I believe the entire drivetrain has to come out to do the head gaskets. Plus, when the heads come off, you have to redrill the head bolt holes. Theres a specific name for that operation, but I forget what it's called. I think an operation like that runs you two to three thousand dollars.

05-27-06, 04:25 PM
Head gaskets have been done with the engine in the car but it is more difficult than dropping the drivetrain from what I understand.

The thread insert proceedure I~LUV~Caddys8792 is talking about is Timeserts. http://www.timesert.com

$2000 would be a very good price. I seem to recall others quoting $3000 - $4000.

05-27-06, 04:34 PM
So is the timeset thing cheaper or is is part of the overall process?

05-27-06, 04:37 PM
It's part of the overall process.

You have to redrill the bolt holes (20 of them) and timesert them.

05-27-06, 05:23 PM
Time to get a new car :( I guess I should start shopping. Anyone know if the 2000 + Cadillacs still have this problem?

05-27-06, 05:47 PM
Any aluminum engine can have this problem, but I think they lengthened the head bolts or changed the thread pitch or something like that in 2000 to help.

05-27-06, 06:59 PM
How do you know the head gaskets are about to go?

05-28-06, 03:00 PM
I had my guy do the test. And we have a little white smoke coming from the exhaust.

They tried to fix this problem in the 2000 Northstar???

05-28-06, 09:48 PM
Is it cheaper to just get a lower milage engine (if I can find one cheap) and have that put in?

05-28-06, 10:03 PM
If you can find a cheap one, yes but you are trading the devil you know for the devil you don't.

05-28-06, 10:50 PM
Yeah, good point. About the engines though, I know its been answered somewhere in the forums but I haven't found it. What years am I limited to if I find a new engine? Its a 96 now.

05-29-06, 12:31 PM
96 to 99 is a direct fit. A 95 engine will also fit if you swap the intake mainifold. Also check your vin, the 8th digit is the engine code. There are two versions. A Yis a 275 hp engine and a 9 is a 300 hp engine. The final drive ratio is also different between the two. If you have a base Eldorado it will be a Y, if it's a ETC, (Eldorado Touring Coupe) it will be a 9.

05-31-06, 05:41 PM
Is it cheaper to just get a lower milage engine (if I can find one cheap) and have that put in?
The thread pitch on the headbolts was changed to a more coarse thread in 2000, and this was supposed to address the premature headgasket failure prevalent in prior Northstars, but according to my contact at the dealer, they still see quite a few 2000 and newer models that have headgasket issues. In April, they had a black '02 STS in with 93,000 miles where the back bank headgasket was breached causing coolant to enter the exhaust.

05-31-06, 05:44 PM
Any aluminum engine can have this problem, ..............
Maybe, but many do not. Take GM's LS1, LS6, and LS2 engines..........extremely rare to see a headgasket failure in these engines, and these are used on vehicles more likely to be pushed to the limit with spirited driving.

05-31-06, 06:38 PM

I had the same job done on my 94 Seville some three years and 88k miles ago and I've had no problems since that were related to that problem.

Say it costs you say $3000 to have the job done. If you found another Eldorado EXACTLY like yours (new compressor, transmission wire loom, etc...), same year, same miles, same everything except that it just had the timeserts installed on it, would you be willing to pay $3000 for that car? If you are, it seems like you might be better off just having it fixed. If you're not, then it looks like it's time to buy another car.

Good luck.