Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?
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Cadillac Seville / Cadillac Eldorado Forum Discussion, Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado? in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Hi all, First, please excuse my ignorance. I am not mechanical by nature, and don't necessarily know the correct names ...
  1. #1
    geegeeburr is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    Hi all,

    First, please excuse my ignorance. I am not mechanical by nature, and don't necessarily know the correct names and function of everything under a hood. That being said, I'm reasonably decent at research, and at following directions.

    This is probably a wild-goose chase, but is it true that there are TWO thermostats on the '97 Eldorado?

    Backstory: We were having overheating problems with our 97' Eldorado. It seems that our first mistake was in trying one of those radiator stop-leak products. Then we discovered that our radiator was cracked. We replaced the radiator, and almost immediately blew out the heater core. Husband decided changing that was beyond our skill level, so we bypassed it instead. Still overheating. We replaced the thermostat, no luck. On advice of family, we tried running it without the thermostat to see if it still overheated. It did. We changed the super-old, rusty-looking water pump, and car still overheats. Our hoses all seem to be in good shape. I now suspect, from what I've read, that it could be a head gasket problem, because we do have a whitish smoke coming from the exhaust. But we don't have other signs of head gasket failure, well- except for the constant overheating. So, I don't want this to be head gasket failure, and I read somewhere that there are supposed to be two thermostats, but we only changed out one. (I've only found ONE REFERENCE to the two-thermostat thing, which is why I'm doubtful.) I'm trying to rule out all the possible little stuff, before admitting defeat and junking the car, which from everything I've read is the only thing you can do if it really is the head gaskets. I tried looking at a service manual online, but could never get the page to load.

    I'm also planning to look at the water pump belt/tensioner, if able to figure it out. Husband is going to check the coolant sensor, but we think that's not the problem, since the fans do come on. (?) And I have noticed that the upper radiator hose doesn't seem to get hot quickly-- like, when the car gets to operating temp, the hose is not hot to the touch, but just warm.

    Okay, I'm going to go out and start working my way down today's list now, but I sure do appreciate any help you might have, especially as to whether or not there really is a second thermostat. And sorry again, if my questions are ignorant.

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    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?



    No. There is only one thermostat (like every other engine).

    Forget everything else and check the purge line for flow. Do a search if you need instructions (very simple). If that checks out OK, borrow a block test kit from AutoZone (just pay for the test fluid). Chances are it's a HG. It CAN be repaired, but it won't be cheap.

  4. #3
    geegeeburr is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    Thank you! I do have the purge line on the list for today, but am not sure what it is. But I have those instructions, so should be able to figure it out. I'm glad you mentioned it, I will move it to the top of the list.

    re: the head gaskets- everything I've read says it's probably 5K in labor, 'cause they have to take the car off the engine, right? (I know for SURE that that's beyond our skill level. Also would probably give my husband a heart attack, and I'd kinda like to keep him.)

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    As long as you have the instructions you should be fine. Here is a picture of both ends of the purge line (yours may vary slightly).

    Yes, the engine (drivetrain) has to be removed. Out the bottom is the preferred method. It CAN be disconnected from the trans and pulled from the top and CAN also be done with the engine in the car, but both are considered harder. The repair can run from $2000 - $4000 (depending on where you are and who does it).
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    Cadillac Kyle's Avatar
    Cadillac Kyle is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Deleted. Ranger beat me to it

    I will say though as far as HG repair. That high number (5k+) is typically dealership cost. I found a auto shop that will do it for 2250 and that's getting the engine out block tested for crack and complete HG repair (including threads) with re-torqued bolts. If tat is the case and you don't want to part from it definitely shop around.

  7. #6
    geegeeburr is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    Thank you guys both for your responses. Knock on wood, hopefully it isn't head gasket. I'm in SoCal, so our repair cost would be on the high end- almost certainly more than what was paid for the car.

    Ranger, I can't see your picture of the purge line, but other instructions I've read, I think I know where the end is. Looking "down" at the engine from driver's side, there is the dog-bone stabilizer, and to the right and underneath is the place where the upper radiator hose connects, and to the right and above that is a smaller hose which is the purge line? And at one of the ends of this hose, there should be a 15mm hollow bolt, which I can also remove and check for blockage?

  8. #7
    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?


  9. #8
    geegeeburr is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    Stoveguyy, thanks, that confirms that I'm looking at the right thing. Will let you all know if I find out anything.

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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    See post #4 for the other end of the purge line. Couldn't get them in the same post for some reason.
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  11. #10
    geegeeburr is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    Hi again, everyone. Rats, I wish I had thought to take pictures of this stuff so it would be easier to explain. I took off the purge line at the overflow tank and started the engine- there was no flow. I was able to check the line from there across the engine- both the rubber tube and the metal tube were clear, at least up till the metal tube attached to another rubber tube/hose. I then removed the rubber tube at the water-pump crossover, (I think). I could see what must have been the hollow bolt, but couldn't get it out because socket was too short, and wrench was just trying to strip the bolt. So I very gently poked inside the bolt with a skewer, and met with resistance. I sort of wiggled the skewer and removed it, and a bubble formed and popped on the end of the bolt. I then reinserted the skewer, and wiggled it in maybe 3 inches or so, still feeling a little bit of resistance, but not really bringing anything out on the skewer. I had already put the other end of the line back on the nipple, so I didn't get to check the flow again, as it was getting too dark to see. There are still a couple more parts of the line that I haven't checked, because they are hard to get to- To get to one spot, I think I will have to remove the round metal thing (sorry) that the air filter hose attaches to. But first, in the morning, I'm going to try checking the flow by the overflow tank again, to see if poking into the hollow bolt did the trick. For that, a question regarding coolant level. I know the coolant in the surge tank isn't supposed to be more than about halfway full, but I can only see about maybe 2 inches into the tank, so I've been filling it to just where I can see barely see the water. Is that too high? Also, some of the hoses on the purge line are connected using the kind of ring clamp that you screw tight, and some are connected using a clamp that you squeeze to loosen. Does it matter which kind of clamp you use? (Asking that because I nearly killed myself getting the squeeze-type clamp back on.) Then I had to run the engine for a bit to charge the battery, because the last couple days it hasn't been charging. I think we haven't been running it long enough to charge fully, because it has been overheating so fast. So I'm running the engine just idling in front of the house, and it's not heating up much at all, so I took it around the block. Long story short, ended up taking it around the block several times, and the temp dial never went more than about a hair above 12:00. This is HUGE progress, because it didn't overheat at all. But then "check engine" light came on, which is new, and I got a message to "check brake fluid switch." And when I felt the upper radiator hose, it was hot, not just warm. So it seems like the purge line problem might not be the full problem.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    The squeeze-type clamps are factory units - high speed install with their special clamp tools - and remember: Those spring clamps were installed on hoses on brand new, smooth, clean fittings. Screw band clamps are worldwide universal. You snug those up pretty good and check them occasionally........... if the hose material protrudes through the band thread holes the clamp is too tight.

    Use a proper sized twist drill - by hand - in the purge line metal bolt/nipple. It should be clean and clear for a depth of about 2.5" - 3" from the tip.

    However you check it, you must have at least a couple of inches of airspace over the coolant in the reservoir - cold.

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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    I know the coolant in the surge tank isn't supposed to be more than about halfway full, but I can only see about maybe 2 inches into the tank, so I've been filling it to just where I can see barely see the water. Is that too high?
    No, as long as it doesn't overflow as it heats up it's not too full. 1/2 - 2/3 is just about right. Better a tad too high than the opposite. If you place a flashlight near the side of the tank you can see the coolant level a little better, especially if you shake the car a bit.

    Clamp type is irrelevant.

    The upper hose is supposed to be hot. The fact that your temp gauge is sitting at 12:00 and not moving is encouraging. Now, DO NOT use those damned sealant tabs aka cooling system supplement that GM used to recommend when you do a cooling system service. That's what clogged your purge line.

    P.S.
    Don't worry about the rest of the purge line. The clog is almost always at the hollow bolt.

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    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Blew out heater core? Hmm. Sounds like high pressures. You would think radiator cap would leak before blowing metal heater core.

  15. #14
    geegeeburr is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    Good morning everyone!

    I took pictures this time, but can't upload them. Any help? (I clicked image icon, above, browsed from my computer, and clicked upload, but it just doesn't do anything. ??)

    Stoveguyy- re: heater core and high pressure. My brother said that it was probably the radiator stop-leak that made the heater core go. But there may be high pressure, cause when it went, there was literally coolant steam coming in through the passenger side floorboard. Also, when my dad first got the car, the guy was using a 15 lb radiator cap, rather than 16 which is what it's supposed to be. Oh, and when I shut off engine, I can hear a faint hiss- coming from not sure where, but seems like somewhere up near firewall, I think?

    Okay, so I've been working on this purge line. The hollow bolt is cleaned out, I think. When I start the engine with the rad cap off, there's a steady flow of coolant coming out of that bolt. Can anyone tell me what is beyond that 3 inches inside the bolt? When cleaning it out, I felt like the bit could go further if I pushed it- there was some resistance, but it didn't feel like metal. Okay, so then I replace that hose, and take off the hose at the surge tank. Taking the hose off, a few tablespoons maybe of water dripped out, with quite a bit of black sediment, but there was no flow of coolant upon start, and I probably let it go about a minute after starting. So, it seems like somewhere in the line is still blocked, right? Now I'm back to thinking I probably have to try to get to those bits of the line that will be hard to reach. But to get to them I will have to remove one or two things that I don't know what they are, so I'm not sure what I might be messing up.

    One is a black bracket with like a black pipe (looks much like black plumbing pipe) coming out of it, where the air filter attaches. I think this is some part of the exhaust system that I probably can't mess up too much by removing it. I have a picture of this, but- upload problem. On the left (engine) side of that black bracket is a silver metal (possibly housing) thing. No CLUE what it does, but it has two pulleys at the back, from which runs very small-diameter airline cable. This is the thing that I'm worried about having to remove, because it looks to be maybe mounted to the engine block, and has lots of stuff that I can't identify attached to it. The purge line runs from the hollow bolt, ducks under the black exhaust thing, then makes a U-turn, and goes either under or THROUGH the silver housing thing, before it comes out at the top of the engine and crosses over to the surge tank. Somewhere in this section, I think must still be blocked. Yikes.
    Also, I got a block test kit, but am assuming there's no point messing with it until I resolve the purge line issue? And at the surge tank, someone screwed the ring clamp on really tight, so that it cut into the rubber- you can see where the rubber squeezed through the clamp. Can/should I just cut that inch or so of hose off there and reattach on new hose end?

    Thank you for any and all advice!

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    Re: Are there two thermostats on '97 Eldorado?

    Replace the entire purge line with a length of proper sized fuel hose (braided cover, pressure proof) from your local parts store. carefully use proper sized band screw hose clamps.

    Black stuff oozing from the purge line, unless you have access to a decent air compressor and fittings, is usualy condemning.

    You should be able to push a coat hanger tip or rod into that hollow bolt about 3' or so - beyond that is the aluminum wall of the water crossover. If it feels mushy in there you might be in the business of having a GOOD radiator shop clean the entire cooling system. ANY brown or black goop is totally out of place in any cooling system.

    Umm, You've never removed the engine beauty cover to do normal underhood checks ????? (The silver thing that covers almost everything you need to look at). And the other silver thing is not an exhaust thing - that silver casting is the throttlebody - air intake -throttle valve - accelerator mechanism.

    EDIT: The black plumbing pipe - that's the air intake ducting from the air filter box.

    May I suggest you get a real GM/Helm service manual set ??? You are in WAY over your head.

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