: Was H. Gasket Prob Fixed in Later NStars?

08-29-06, 10:36 AM
I have '96 Deville with the leaky head gasket problem and have read the fixes. Much appreciated! Does anyone know if the problem was corrected in later years/models and if so what year/model? Thanks from a novice.

08-29-06, 11:23 AM
no all N*s are susceptable any alum block is... if you take care of it and replace coolant like you should it lowers % chance, in 00 hoever they did change it somewhat to also lower it but it still occurs..

08-29-06, 01:54 PM
The more coarse headbolt thread, introduced around model year 2000, has not eliminated the problem. Cooling system maintenance will not help headbolts pulling out of the block over time with thermal cycling. A design change (such as specifying Timeserts from the factory) or manufacturing change (such as a process to decrease the porosity of the aluminum block), or both, is needed but so far GM hasn't stepped up to the plate.

08-29-06, 08:00 PM
Thanks guys. So, if it is uncorrected to date, are you guys selling/trading them in at certain mileage ranges to try and avoid the problem? Or, is this only happening on a (reasonably) small percentage making the risk worthwhile? I love the car and design style, as obviously many others do as evidenced by this group, but it seems like we're driving a ticking time bomb unless I'm missing something. Thanks again for such a quick reply today.

08-29-06, 08:16 PM
If you read these forums you'd think it is an epidemic, but that is like visitinig a junk yard and assuming all cars get wrecked. In reality, the numbers are small. We have members here with over 200K and a few over 300K. Change the coolant when recommended or sooner and you'll probably be fine. No one comes on these forums to say that they don't have any problems. They are the silent majority. For every unfortunate one with a head gasket failure, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands without.

08-29-06, 09:23 PM
Thank you Ranger for the clarification. Much appreciated. May I ask your "general" opinion of the "gasket repair vs. push it over a cliff" debate that I have been researching? I am uncertain to attempt repair on my 96 Deville (200k) that is otherwise in excellent shape or just look for another of that vintage in the $5k and under bracket that I purchased this one a year ago. Thanks again.

08-29-06, 10:00 PM
There was a poster not long ago that you will hear us refer to as "The Guru". He was (is) a GM powertrain engineer and was involved in the development & testing of the Northstar. He always said that if the head gaskets are replaced and the block is Timeserted (all 20 bolt holes), the engine will be better than new and should last forever. As to whether to repair or junk, that is a question only you can answer. The repair will hold of done correctly, though it is costly unless you DIY. Is it worth putting that much money into a car that old? One the other hand, if you junk it and get another, are you trading the devil you know for the devil you don't? Tough choices. Not sure what I would do.

08-29-06, 10:09 PM
Thanks again. Nothing beats straight answers. You have given me the food for thought I was looking for and the ability to intelligently discuss the situation with my mechanic. I have had a great experience with my first attempt at the forum. Thank you.

09-02-06, 02:58 PM
Ive just joined the forum but have been looking at the site for a while now.
My wifes '99 STS has been loosing water over a short period of time and has now developed into a full blown HG problem. 77K miles!!
Its been treated very gently, never thrashed but still has blown a gasket even though it has never lost water dramatically or even overheated.

09-02-06, 04:15 PM
Has the cooling system been maintained?

09-02-06, 06:09 PM
The head gasket itself is a sandwich of materials. In the center is metal. If the cooling system is neglected or the coolant is contaminated the metal in the sandwich corrodes or disappears. This can happen regardless of whether the car is driven or not. After the gasket begins to leak the coolant gets into the area around the headbolts and there is further corrosion involving the threads. On top of that the block itself is a permanent mold casting which introduces problems of material density, hardness and porosity. The largest share of the engines never give any problems but an adverse accumulation of tolerances can result in a blown head gasket. There is no magic bullet to cure all this and any attempt presents the liklihood of introducing something worse.

09-03-06, 03:55 PM
Hi Ranger.....been looking at your posts.
Yes my wifes STS has been maintained well.
Weve only had it 2 years now but it has been looked after.
Correct coolant put in .............but it did have a minor leak from the waterpump housing which a new gasket cured and another minor leak from the rear of the crossover pipe which was cured with the bars GM Pelletts.
Never overheated or lost major fluid until recently when the low coolant warning was coming up. Do you think that the small loss could have caused it???
Ive been in the auto trade for all my working life and cant understand how the engine seemed to be almost fragile to blow a gasket. Up til a few months ago the coolant never dropped low.But then it seems that with an alloy engine any slight coolant loss will cause probs.
and I dont know its past history of repairs.

09-03-06, 04:53 PM
No, a small coolant loss will not casue head gaskets to fail if it never overheated. If the coolant has been changed when it was due, then you are just one of the unlucky ones. Sometimes shit happens.

09-04-06, 02:00 PM
Yeah I thought that I was just unlucky.
Local dealer thought I was mad when I told him I thought HGs had gone.
Never mind.......on with the repair.
The engine is out of the car now and sitting in my garage waiting for me to start the strip down.
Ill let you know how I get on if you want to know.