: Oil Leaks



Onalaska
02-20-07, 08:10 AM
I have had my 2005 STS with Northstar engine back to the dealer three times for an oil leak that they can't seem to be able to fix. The first time they tightened the oil filter which I knew was not loose. The next time they added some UV dye to the oil and replaced the drain plug. The third time they pulled the transmission and replaced the rear main oil seal and it is still leaking oil on the garage floor! We really like the car, but this is the first car that we have owned that leaks oil and find it unacceptable. Is this a common problem with the Northstar and if so are there some common locations to look for the leak that the dealer may not be aware of? We are getting tired of going back for the same problem over and over again. We have considered trying another dealer, but since this one sold us the car and has the history don't want to start all over again with someone else.

Ranger
02-20-07, 10:32 AM
Earlier Northstars are more known for oil leaks than later ones. If the dealer could not find the leak with a dye test, I would question their competence and try another. Where is the oil spot in relation to the engine? Oil filter adapter, oil coolant lines and oil pressure switch are some common leak points. I think the oil pans and half case leaks have pretty well been taken care of, but any knowledgeable dealer should be able to diagnose that with ease.

codewize
02-20-07, 06:58 PM
Change the filter. I know it sounds crazy but if you search around here you'll find my posts regarding the same type of thing. I didn't have all that work done but I did have a bad oil leak that I knew came on quickly. I replaced the filter and the problem was resolved.

If it doesn't fix the problem you've only spent $5 and 5 minutes worth of time.

I would also like to say that upon 3 different inspections the leaking filter seemed to be fine and there was nothing found wrong with it but I had it on and off the car three times and it was still leaking.

Eldo1953
02-20-07, 07:23 PM
Sounds like it is time for a different dealer. Doesn't sound like things could get much worse with a switch.

97STS4ME
02-20-07, 07:43 PM
Try a more competent service department. UV dye will pinpoint the location(s) of a leak within minutes. If they have to guess and replace parts randomly to fix a simple oil leak what do you imagine it will be like if they have to do any REAL diagnostic work?

Onalaska
02-20-07, 11:33 PM
Thanks for helping me make the decision to try another dealer. I realize that sometimes it takes more than one visit for a difficult problem, but it's like they did not take the problem seriously until the third time I brought it in. Now they have gone to the time and expense to pull the transmission and replace the rear main and we still have the oil leak only now it seems worse! I just hope that the crankshaft is not nicked or damaged at the rear main and that is causing the new seal to leak. I would have thought their mechanic would have inspected the crank for that while he had the old seal removed.

I did change the oil myself after they said it was the oil filter and I put a brand new PF-61 A/C filter on. It's not coming from there. Also see no leaks around the filter adapter or oil coming from the top of the engine. It's all showing up around the transmission bell housing, but it's definately engine oil and not transmission fluid.

codewize
02-21-07, 03:46 PM
Well as previously mentioned the dye should pinpoint it immediately. Is it all the way around the bell housing or on one side and not the other? If it's all the way around and you're sure it's oil not coming from above then it almost has to be the half-case or rear main. Right?



I did change the oil myself after they said it was the oil filter and I put a brand new PF-61 A/C filter on. It's not coming from there. Also see no leaks around the filter adapter or oil coming from the top of the engine. It's all showing up around the transmission bell housing, but it's definately engine oil and not transmission fluid.

99Classillac
02-21-07, 04:55 PM
Another reason they're called stealerships.... They don't care because they are always gonna have business coming in. Those small shops do a better job I think because their reputation rides on doing good work.

Onalaska
02-21-07, 09:38 PM
Well as previously mentioned the dye should pinpoint it immediately. Is it all the way around the bell housing or on one side and not the other? If it's all the way around and you're sure it's oil not coming from above then it almost has to be the half-case or rear main. Right?

I should have qualified that. It's on the bottom of the bell housing, I don't see anything coming down the sides from the top back of the engine, but it's really tight in there and hard to see. I'm taking it to another dealer since it is still under warranty, only 10,000 miles. I think the new seal may be leaking possibly due to a nicked crank or poor installation. Sure hope it's not the crank or the half case, wonder what they would do in that case? I don't think I would want a dealer to try and replace the crank!

97STS4ME
02-23-07, 06:42 PM
Sure hope it's not the crank or the half case, wonder what they would do in that case?
They would likely replace the whole engine under warranty in that case.

99cadillacman
02-26-07, 11:15 PM
ha.. i have a funny story for you guys. When i lived in rockford i worked at a big used car dealer. We had a guy that bought a 1 year old deville...nice car..prefect...15k miles
I think he was back about 10 times complaining of a oil leak.. he kept seeing oil in his otherwise clean garage floor... everytime we lifted it,found absoultely no leak no wetness..nothing...
The guy was not happy, was getitng ready to file a lawsuit against us...
One day he came in to apologize to us. He came home early one day, went to put his car in the garage and there was some old p.o.s. old car in there. He went inside his house and found his wife "having relations" with another guy!!!!!! it took everything i had not to laugh lol..

Thats a true story i figured you guys would get a kick out of that.

Ranger
02-26-07, 11:50 PM
:lol:

dkozloski
02-27-07, 01:44 PM
ha.. i have a funny story for you guys. When i lived in rockford i worked at a big used car dealer. We had a guy that bought a 1 year old deville...nice car..prefect...15k miles
I think he was back about 10 times complaining of a oil leak.. he kept seeing oil in his otherwise clean garage floor... everytime we lifted it,found absoultely no leak no wetness..nothing...
The guy was not happy, was getitng ready to file a lawsuit against us...
One day he came in to apologize to us. He came home early one day, went to put his car in the garage and there was some old p.o.s. old car in there. He went inside his house and found his wife "having relations" with another guy!!!!!! it took everything i had not to laugh lol..

Thats a true story i figured you guys would get a kick out of that.
To close the loop on that story he was supposed to fill the old car with redi-mix concrete.

codewize
03-04-07, 06:52 PM
Wow that's amazing. I have to laugh at that one.

Onalaska
03-19-07, 10:06 PM
Took the STS to another dealer with all of the info from the last dealer's four attempts to fix the leak(s). They kept it for almost two weeks. Found the oil filter adapter leaking and replaced gaskets, then found the oil pan gasket leaking. Had to get some special tools to suspend the engine and drop the suspension to replace the pan gasket. Picked it up at the dealer and made a 400 mile trip that weekend and no oil leaks, garage is spotless!! Finally fixed. Just got the GM comment card on the first dealer's repairs. They are going to get an earfull.

Mountie
03-22-07, 02:21 AM
After the second time with a failed attempt under warranty....& at a dealer, go to another dealer. Ask around, find the best Cadillac service mechanic.

My guy uses a rubber sealant INSTEAD of the 'O' ring gasgets, due to the leaks......He's a Cadillac Northstar mechanic...... At the dealership. The sealant comes in a 1/2 - length chaulking tube....it has a GM number on the tube.

Or...... call the GM rep. Tell him to get you a new F%$@*&$%G engine. They actually do that, due to the leak after failed attempts.

Mountie
03-22-07, 02:25 AM
99 cadillacman, that sounds like when a couple months ago, I was trying to figure out why I was leaking coolant from the center area of my North*. I had a puddle 16" wide & causing a tire mark leaving my reserved condo parking spot. Finding out, a worker was using my personal spot during the day!!

Onalaska
03-24-07, 08:52 AM
Just got the dealer's report on the oil leak repair. Four of the pan bolts broke off in the process of removing the oil pan and had to be drilled and extracted. Have to get under the car today and see how everything looks.

bpayne
04-07-07, 11:48 PM
We bought our 97 deville from my inlaws in November knowing that it leaked some (not a lot) oil. Last week we went out of town in another vehicle for 5 days. When we got home there was oil all streaming down the garage floor where the 97 deville leaked approx 1/2 to 3/4 qt of oil during those 5 days we were gone. I was heartsick. I took it to a trusted mechanic who (after degreasing all the oily mess from the underside of the engine) said that the top and bottom (seals?) needed to be replaced which requires removing the transmission! Gasp!! He doesn't even do that kind of work. I'd have to take it somewhere else to have that done. Anyway, I don't know what to think 'cause even though it's only got 80,000 and has been driven by my little petite mother-in-law around town, I'm not sure I wanna sink big bucks into it -- cha ching!!! I'm considering doing the old change the oil filter trick that someone else mentioned and praying over it while I'm at it and see if the leak stops. Any worthwhile advice is welcome. :-)

Ranger
04-08-07, 12:06 AM
Not sure what "top & bottom" seals you are talking about. That is very unusual to have them leak that much while shut down. Common leaks are a halfcase seal (expensive, but usually just a little seepage that rarely hits the ground), oil pan (same as halfcase), oil filter adapter "O" ring (cheap & easy), oil pressure switch (cheap & easy), oil cooler line fittings (cheap & easy).

JimHare
04-09-07, 10:36 PM
<Snip>'cause even though it's only got 80,000 and has been driven by my little petite mother-in-law around town,... <snip>

You know guys, I'm half-tempted to think this is another case of the "Don't BABY that Northstar around town so much!" sickness - a 10 year old car with only 80K on it translates to a million little cruises to the hairdresser at 35 mph and twice a week to church or something...instead of the daily 80MPH blasts up the interstate for 10 or 20 miles.

The more I read about these engines, here and there, the more I believe that they really, really, really need to be driven HARD on a regular basis for everything to tick together nicely. We all know the Northy was designed as a performance engine. It needs to be driven like one. I don't mean to go out the beat the hell out of it, but like any machine, it was designed to be operated within certain parameters, and operating it outside of them can be detrimental.

Just my 'pinion.....

z06bigbird
04-09-07, 11:00 PM
Good luck, man.

Ed

Tommy Deville
04-11-07, 05:41 AM
I understand that one of the oil presure sending switchs leak as well. Mine was replaced when I purchased my Caddy

Mountie
04-11-07, 11:05 AM
If the dealer failed to fix the problem on the 3rd try, you should be in line for another engine under warranty. I don't know if it is possible to clean everything, and search for the location?

I wish you were near here...... my Cadillac Northstar guy is really good.

Captsolo
05-19-07, 08:48 AM
I have a 1993 Eldorado with 95,000 miles. She starts and runs great still - even though she is 14 years old. Purchased it practically new in 1995. :thepan:

Engine Oil leak is a nascence in the 4.6 L Northstar, and I've tried to sell it, but can't get a buyer.

Watching "Two Guys Garage" on TV, they recommended a "bearing seal" stop leak for rear seal oil leaks, so I tried it. I had tried everything else.

One can practically stopped all the oil leaking in my driveway, but she's still a little "wet" under the "engine". Not so much dripping right now - though.

This rear sealer was a thin liquid, not some heavy thick additive (they don't work).

Mountie
05-19-07, 03:30 PM
I have a 1993 Eldorado with 95,000 miles. She starts and runs great still - even though she is 14 years old. Purchased it practically new in 1995. :thepan:

Engine Oil leak is a nascence in the 4.6 L Northstar, and I've tried to sell it, but can't get a buyer.

Watching "Two Guys Garage" on TV, they recommended a "bearing seal" stop leak for rear seal oil leaks, so I tried it. I had tried everything else.

One can practically stopped all the oil leaking in my driveway, but she's still a little "wet" under the "engine". Not so much dripping right now - though.

This rear sealer was a thin liquid, not some heavy thick additive (they don't work).

I wonder if that sealer stuff stops those other little leaks North*'s are common for? What does the label say?

dkozloski
05-19-07, 03:52 PM
These leak stoppers are chemical solvents that react badly with rubber parts and cause them to swell up. They can make ordinary o-rings look like doughnuts. Unfortunately the rubber also becomes very soft and can disintegrate. This goes in the locker with sawdust and bananas for the rear end of a car you're about to sell. You might want to do this to a buyer but you wouldn't want to do it to yourself.

Captsolo
05-19-07, 03:55 PM
My dealer does not recommend anything (i.e., additives) to stop the common 4.6 L Northstar oil leaks. says it has to do with the pan bolts and the "spit block" design - and is a big, expensive job.

Yet, they admit it is a problem that develops on almost all Northstars (the split blocks) from 1993 thru 1997 models.

I tried home remedies, and was scolded by the head mechanic, but the stuff "Two Guys Garage" recommended on TV really appears to have slowed it down (but not to a complete halt).

I'm still in the "watching" phase.

It is a oil sealer for the "rear seal", and I just tried it for the hell of it, 'cause nothing has ever really been able to stop or slow the oil leaks on my 1993 Northstar.

Today, the dealer told me to "sell it". I said you wanna buy it?:worship:

Still runs better than any 14 year old car I've ever owned. Starts up great - but I'll take $2,000 cash.

i have three cars - including a new Toyota 4 runner and a 1995 Jimmy. The Jimmy with the V6 Vortex is a good engine and no oil leaks.

Mountie
05-19-07, 04:55 PM
I used WD-40 to seal those rubber elec. wire /grommits on the side-case of motorcycles, just by spraying on it from the exterior.

I was told by a good Cadillac North* mechanic that they use rubber sealant/chaulk, instead of the 'o' ring gasgets nowa-days on the bottom cases.

Captsolo
05-19-07, 05:11 PM
This is a reply to dkolski's post /warning against engine oil additives.

I just went outside, got on my knees and checked for oil drippage. Not a drop. I drove the 1993 Eldorado Northstar about 30 miles today, and she's been sitting there 3 hours.

The only reason I added that "rear oil bearing STOP LEAK sealer" was because on the Two Guy's Garage show - one of them picked up a can of the stuff and said "This stuff will absolutely not harm your engine.":tisk:

That sold me.

Sure hope he's right.

He said you would have to add a can on every oil change too.

dkozloski
05-19-07, 05:19 PM
Take a container of the leak stopper, put an o-ring, shaft seal, and other rubber parts in it and see what happens to it. Depending on the composition of the rubber parts, the results can be astounding.

Captsolo
05-21-07, 06:25 PM
Ok Binky Bear!

But don't you think a can of that rear seal STOP Leak gets diluted with the 7 GALLONS of oil in your Northstar? It's not like you're adding 2.0 HCL acid in there.

I think some of these "sealent manufacturers" may have done a little bit of in house research and testing before they put this/their "stuff" on the market, don't you?

Remember.. The GUYs at "Two Guys Garrage" on TV said to their million +viewers.. "This stuff won't hurt your engines". "Don't worry"!

Hum.. they must know someting too - don't ya think?

fubar569
05-21-07, 09:55 PM
Ok Binky Bear!

But don't you think a can of that rear seal STOP Leak gets diluted with the 7 GALLONS of oil in your Northstar? It's not like you're adding 2.0 HCL acid in there.

I think some of these "sealent manufacturers" may have done a little bit of in house research and testing before they put this/their "stuff" on the market, don't you?

Remember.. The GUYs at "Two Guys Garrage" on TV said to their million +viewers.. "This stuff won't hurt your engines". "Don't worry"!

Hum.. they must know someting too - don't ya think?

yes...they know how to make lots of money...

what they dont know..is we have tried every single bottled solution and guess what? not gonna permanently fix anything...and with the internet...we can share those experiences with others so they learn before they make a mistake and dump it into thier engine...

JimHare
05-21-07, 11:01 PM
Ok Binky Bear!

But don't you think a can of that rear seal STOP Leak gets diluted with the 7 GALLONS of oil in your Northstar? It's not like you're adding 2.0 HCL acid in there.



If you put 7 GALLONS of oil in, no wonder you have a leak....

I'm assuming you mean 7 QUARTS.. :)

And on that same note, just because "they" say it on TV, that means nothing. Nixon said he wasn't a crook. TV guys can say pretty much anything they like that isn't libel or slander, and are fairly immune from backlash - read the small print on the closing credits about disavowing any responsibility for anything said, done, suggested, or demonstrated on the shows...

cadillacmike68
05-26-07, 12:23 AM
Reminds me of the caveat - Don try this at home!:tisk:

Anyway, doesn't "high mileage" oil have similar additives to "gently swell seals" ?? :confused:

I put a one pint bottle in my 2000 eldorado, because EVERY time i went under it, I could see oil seeping from either the case halves - which Ranger says should NOT be an issue with a 2000 ior later car - or possible from the oil pan gasket (probably more likely).

I tried tightening up every accessible bolt on the oil sump, but there are a few I can't get to.

Oh well, at least no more drips on the garage floor. I'll check it next week so see if the "class 1 leak" is gone or diminished.

Then i have the 1995 Fleetwood to deal with, it might have a front main seal going bad... arrgh :banghead:

Ranger
05-26-07, 01:11 AM
which Ranger says should NOT be an issue with a 2000 ior later car
I don't think I ever said that.

dkozloski
05-26-07, 05:48 PM
Ok Binky Bear!

But don't you think a can of that rear seal STOP Leak gets diluted with the 7 GALLONS of oil in your Northstar? It's not like you're adding 2.0 HCL acid in there.

I think some of these "sealent manufacturers" may have done a little bit of in house research and testing before they put this/their "stuff" on the market, don't you?

Remember.. The GUYs at "Two Guys Garrage" on TV said to their million +viewers.. "This stuff won't hurt your engines". "Don't worry"!

Hum.. they must know someting too - don't ya think?
Andy Granatelli and STP claimed all kinds of things for their product before they wound up paying the largest consumer fraud "snake oil" fine in history, about $660,000. How can you tell if an oil additive salesman is lying? His lips are moving. These seal swelling "treatments" have been on the market since Model T Ford days and they are still akin to duck butter. For my money it's got to be endorsed by "Click and Clack" the Tappet brothers or a movie star for there to be any credibility.

JimHare
05-26-07, 07:36 PM
For my money it's got to be endorsed by "Click and Clack" the Tappet brothers or a movie star for there to be any credibility.
:histeric:

Ranger
05-26-07, 07:44 PM
Don't forget the ever popular 22 yr old model in a string bikini.

cadillacmike68
05-27-07, 12:32 AM
I don't think I ever said that.

You're right, you didn't quite say that.

After TWO HOURS of digging through posts I finally found this one:

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/83460-2000-ns-oil-leak.html?highlight=leak+%2B+oil

Which is from way back in Aug 2006 - you said then:

"My '97 had the halfcase seal replaced under warranty and was bone dry after that til I sold it last Oct. at 107K. I think the halfcase seals were redesigned by 2000. You might check the oil filter adapter. It is a somewhat common leak point from what I hear."

I interpreted this as GM having solved the problem with the 2000 model year, but I guess not :thepan:

I just had my oil changed in the. The underside was a mess, so I cleaned it out as best as i could with degreaser and engine brite - got it all over my face and arms :want:It was nice and clean, no spots on the garage or driveway now, but i can smell burnt oil while stopped at traffic lights :confused:

It was also a bit low (1/4 quart 8 oxz for you technical types, 1 cup for math illiterates). So I filled it yesterday didn't drive it after. This morning I checked it - exactly on the full mark (in my level garage - not on the sloped driveway). so nowI have an exactly full crankcase, and no drips, but i could still smell burnt oil when stopped at lights.

Is this the residue of the degreaser / engine brite, ir is it fresh oil seeping out fron the nether reaches of the Northstar.

My main problem is I don't have a lift and crawling around on a creeper doesn't let me get a good look at things. And we all know how friendly the dealers are when it comes to letting us poke around under the car when it's on one of their lifts.

I wish my mechanics from Worcester MA would relocate to FL. :crybaby:

My wife is on my a$$ to sell this car - If this keeps up, as soon as my 68 is finished with its paint and body work, it's going to go... (can't be without a convertible) :cool:

But then again, it looks real nice parked with the top down. A whole bevy of teenie boppers were admiring it at starbucks tonite :thumbsup:

Ranger
05-27-07, 06:23 PM
After TWO HOURS of digging through posts I finally found this one:
WOW, you are tenacious. Guess I stand corrected. Your memory is better than mine. Not sure where I picked up that tidbit of information.


This morning I checked it - exactly on the full mark (in my level garage - not on the sloped driveway). so now I have an exactly full crankcase
I don't recall a "Full" mark. I recall ADD & MAX. If you mean MAX, you are overfilled and keeping it topped up to that level just exacerbates oil consumption. That said, I don't think that is causing your leak. Whatever it is will eventually make it way back down to the pan again, then you can trace it back from there. Just keep an eye on it.

cadillacmike68
05-27-07, 09:38 PM
Yeah, I'm - as i so often refer to others - am as stubborn as i am stupid. Actually I have large recall capacity - my wife is always threatening to have science examine my brain! Now I have to track down the actual source of the leak... :banghead:

cadillacmike68
05-27-07, 09:45 PM
WOW, you are tenacious. Guess I stand corrected. Your memory is better than mine. Not sure where I picked up that tidbit of information.


I don't recall a "Full" mark. I recall ADD & MAX. If you mean MAX, you are overfilled and keeping it topped up to that level just exacerbates oil consumption. That said, I don't think that is causing your leak. Whatever it is will eventually make it way back down to the pan again, then you can trace it back from there. Just keep an eye on it.

It's at the exact top of the hash marks - checked AFTER it sat all night so it isn't (shouldn't be :confused: )overfilled... But unless those duma$$es at the oil quik-libe (actually they're not so bad...) put in only 5 QTs then it took more than 7.5 QTs to get it to that mark, and I only drive it four 40 mile trips in the interim.

So we'll see. I'll check it every morning - if i use it - and see if it is droopping - I doubt it. my bigger concern is the leak :alchi: