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Cadillac Tech Tips - How to fix it Discussion, N* Head Gasket repair in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; If anyone has directions/steps as to what needs to be done to replace headgaskets while the engine is still in ...
  1. #31
    onecad is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    If anyone has directions/steps as to what needs to be done to replace headgaskets while the engine is still in the car I would appreciate it, i dont have room to have the chassis and body separated so i would like to consider doing it the "hard" way. I have all the tools ( well most, except to disconnect the fuel line if need be) to do this, just not the space. Thanks
    for your reply's. And if you yourself have done this how much time did it take?
    -O

  2. #32
    zonie77 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    This is the Tech Tips section. It's a FAQ type section. If you want questions answered you ought to be posting in the Northstar section.

    Jaxxman...the 94 wiring is a PAIN! You have to disco it at the computer under the dash. It's been a couple of years but the ABS module can stay in the car. I don't remember the details of the wiring though. It seems like we unplugged it. It is not easy to disco the wiring...they changed the wiring and a 96 is much easier.

    onecad...the recommendation is do not do it in the car. If you do it you can write up a tips thread on doing it that way. Geraldius just posted he did it, maybe he will see this. He did put a few hints in his post.

  3. #33
    JaxxMan's Avatar
    JaxxMan is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    I tried to send a PM to thank you Zonie but it said I can't until I have 50 posts. I found what I needed in volume 2 of the Factory manual for the ABS wiring. A lot of good stuff in volume 2 should have spent more time there.

    Will be back to my brothers shop tomorrow night to finish getting the motor out. Thx Again. JaxxMan

  4. #34
    Geraldius is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    A tool to disconnect the fuel lines can be made quite easily. I used a short length of 3/8" polyethylene tubing with a slit down one side. Open the slit to slip it over the fuel pipe and then slide it into the receptacle on the fuel line to release the locking tabs. Then the fuel line slides right off.

  5. #35
    faustfamily is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Thumbs up Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    I opted to try the mechanic in a bottle. I used the Bar's Leak Head Gasket repair formula in the Silver bottle, (about $9.00). Anyhow, it took five tries as I had to remove the plugs in each leaking cylinder per treatment. All of my leaks where in the 1, 3, 5, and 7 cylinders. This makes sense as those cylinders are in the back and have little airflow for cooling.

    The car is a 1996 Deville and it has 163K miles on it. After reading about the cost and difficulty of fixing the head gasket leak, I chose to try the easiest method first. I love the car and I did not want to dispose of it as it still drives and runs great. It is hard to believe that it runs so well with a leak.

    Back to my experience with the additive. After five tries it appears to have worked. I have gone 2K miles now without problems. It took over a month as I had to do one cylinder at a time on each weekend, but it was worth it. Each time takes about two days as you have to run the car and then let the engine cool for the next step.

    I know there are a lot of individuals out there with similar problems on their Northstar. I just wanted to let other know of my experience with the Bars Leak product and I'd have to say that it has worked for me.

  6. #36
    white97deville is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    Here is a pic of my Nstar coming out from under the car. I worked slowly and took breaks but it took 3-5 hours for me to get it out of the car and about the same to put it back in. I had it on the floor of the garage for about 2 months though as I had to work on it as I had time available. An air compressor is an invaluable tool when doing the drilling/tapping for the timeserts to keep all the shavings blown away from your engine and out of the holes you are drilling/tapping.
    Attached Images

  7. #37
    willbr1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    Just finished my head gasket repair on my 96 STS with 170,000 miles. Just a few observations that might help others:

    Order a Time-sert kit direct from Time-sert. The kit with 20 inserts will cost $450. I only saw one headbolt hole with the thread coming out, but while fastening the jig in place I found 3 more that were definitely stripped. Make your life easier in the long run and Time-sert all 20 whether you think you need to or not. Who would want to do this a second time?

    Leave the wiring harness on the engine. Zip tie the fuse boxes that won't disconnect to the motor. The wiring harness will disconnect under the passenger side dash.

    As others mentioned, hang the brake calipers on the inner fenders and the anti-lock brake system to the body. This means that you won't need to bleed the brake later.

    Once the car was raised to the right height. I lowered the cradle on the engine hoist legs and it rolled right out. This might be easier than backing the car over the engine.

    Thanks to all the previous posters for your help. You saved me a lot of time!

  8. #38
    willbr1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    A few more suggestions for Time-serting:
    Go down to your local building supply store and get a roll of plastic sheeting. Cut off a piece big enough to cover the whole engine and transmission assembly. Place the Time-sert jig right over the plastic and run the bolts right through. This will keep most of the metal shavings out of the engine.

    I prefer using a shop vac instead of compressed air to clean up the metal shavings. I want to remove the shavings rather than blow them elsewhere (like your eyes.) Use safety glasses. To clean the shaving out of the holes, cover the end of the shop vac with your hand slightly and place a plastic straw between your fingers. It will suck all the shavings and brake cleaner right out. I also used this straw technique in the cylinders before re-assembly to get any foreign material out.

    Here is a Time-sert video link showing how they do the insert process on an N*.

    http://www.timesert.com/html/gm.html

  9. #39
    zonie77 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    The sheet of plastic is thinking out of the box!

    We used the vac with a small tube attached also. It worked really well.

  10. #40
    robshelby is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    Geraldius02-12-06, 07:22 PM
    I'm just about finished doing the head gasket job on my son's '97 SLS, without removing the engine. It has been one of the most nightmarishly difficult repairs I've ever done.

    We had no room to drop the powertrain cradle because the car had to be rolled in and out of the garage during the course of the many days working on it. Just writing this to affirm that it can be done. There are many tricks that need to be employed to pull it off.

    * We Timeserted all 20 head bolt holes. This had to be done since at least 40% of the bolt threads were bad. The drilling for the rear Timeserts is done using a 3/8 drive air ratchet to spin the drill in the cramped space.

    * The engine must be rocked forward to get enough clearance to do the rear head.

    * You need slender arms and dextrous fingers to get into some tight spots and be able to work by 'feel'.

    * Releasing the timing chain tensioners and holding them in the retracted position for reassembly is tricky. It can be done with some clever placement of a long thin welding rod wire.

    * Since there will be no access to the internals of the engine behind the front cover, special care must be taken to insure proper cam timing and making sure the crank position stays with cyl #1 at TDC. Make some external timing marks on the crank pully and front cover.

    * Its probably a good idea to change out the back HO2 sensor while the head is off and you have access.

    * Don't drop anything inside the engine while working on it or you will be removing the engine after all.

    * It is not a job for newbies or those with little experience.

    * Be sure there is no one nearby who may be sensitive to hearing a lot of swearing :rant2


    i am sooo stuck on the timing chain tensioner that i am ranting like crazy and my caddi has been sitting for a year. I can grab that little sliver of a release but always lose the tension when i try to put the chain on the sprocket. if the car wasn't so damn pretty i would have beat the heck out of it

  11. #41
    deebaubles is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    I wish I was as experienced as you all. I wish I had googled replace head gasket on cadillac n* before i decided to fix this.

    I have a 97 Deville. Great car, but it started overheating and leaking coolant (about 1/2 gal every 2 days). I have a mechanic I trusted - Had been working on my cars (including this one) for about 7 years. Like i said, I trusted him. Has always done good work cheap. He quoted me $750 (incl parts) and 3 days to change out my head gaskets.

    I like the car, so I decided to go forward with the repair. Well, 17 days later (what happened to 3???) he says he is done with it.

    He broke numerous other parts pulling the cadi appart. He ended up wanting $1250.

    Problem is, car runs like CRAP! It is not overheating or leaking coolant (that I can tell) But while idolling, the car is very loud, runs very rough and feels like it is going to kill at any moment. There is also a pungent aroma while driving - slightly like rotten eggs?

    So, googling this problem (which i should have done before agreeing to repair - but i thought he knew what he was doing - he has been a mechanic for at least 20 years) I see this. I have all of the reciepts for this repair and there is not a reciept for a timesert.

    Do the above problems sound like a headgasket problem still? Will the car continue to run with new headgaskets but no timesert? He says the rough idol is due to a fuel or vacume problem... but now I dont trust him anymore and dont want him to touch the car - but all the same know I can not afford to put much more money into this thing.

    Just looking for ideas of what I might be in for... Now Im paranoid that the car will just blow up and take me and my kid out with it.

    Any thoughts/advice are appreciated!!!

  12. #42
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is online now Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    This section is for "TECH TIPS". You won't get an answer here. Repost in the Northstar forum.

  13. #43
    96ConcoursJim is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: N* Head Gasket repair

    I am in the final stages of an engine in timesert {BIGSERTS} repair. And boys and girls, you should not attempt this if you have a weak stomach. A lot of hours and pain are involved. Not to mention the lack of room when trying to drill the back ten holes. Tiger would even have a problem with it. I'll post up some pictures when done in the album section soon. But I agree with robshelby, the car is too pretty not to hang in there and finish.

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