4.9L coolant issues
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HT4100 4.1, 4.5, 4.9 Discussion, 4.9L coolant issues in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I have a heavily modified deville with a 4.9L engine in it. I did a frame off on the car ...
  1. #1
    red_ghost is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    4.9L coolant issues

    I have a heavily modified deville with a 4.9L engine in it. I did a frame off on the car last year and while the engine was out somehow the distributor must have been bumped and the timing thrown off. When this was put back in and I was trying to figure out why it was running like crap, it put too much fuel into the exhaust causing it to ignite and start the engine on fire. I had someone else do the repair (I was exhausted at the point, plus was going through a divorce). Since this was in October and this is a show car, I didn't take it out until January when we went to start rebuilding the inside of our hobby shop. At that point I noticed it was burning coolant, producing a lot of white smoke, and saw some bubbles in the over flow. I tried a block test and It was negative each time (many times it sucked in coolant though, so some of the tests might have been faulty). Spark plugs look normal. It went through the overflow after about 10 miles. Strange enough, now that it is in the 80s there is no burning coolant smell when driving. I drove it a couple miles down the street to a carshow this weekend and the radiator is still full today. I let it run for a while and still no coolant smell.

    I'm still leaning towards it being a problem with my head gasket or head. Since it seemed to disappear now that its hot, maybe a slight crack in the gasket? Any other ideas? Seems like I just gotta take it apart to figure it out.

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    dennis93coupe's Avatar
    dennis93coupe is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.9L coolant issues

    You might have a cracked cylinder head. Loosin your oil pan plug enough that it leaks for awhile to see if you have coolant in your oil. Get a radiator pressure testor and check your radiator cap. A compression test might help you find your problem. If you are getting bubbles in the overflow, you definately have a problem. Do you plan on keeping this car? If you are, get a FSM. Ebay is your friend. You might be better off finding an egine from the salvage yard, these engines are cost prohibitive to rebuild and usually don't have many head gasket problems.

    http://motors.shop.ebay.com/i.html?_...506.m270.l1313

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    red_ghost is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 4.9L coolant issues

    Thank you for your response. I already have an fsm and this isn't my first rodeo with this engine. Replacing the engine would actually cost a lot more, considering the amount of modifications done to it (whole block is painted, most components are chrome plated or ceramic plated, all new sensors (every sensor was replaced 3 years ago), etc)

    There is no coolant mixing with the oil. I did a pressure test in january and it lost about 10 psi after a half an hour.

    Yesterday i drove the car for about an hour and it didn't seem to burn anything...

  5. #4
    dennis93coupe's Avatar
    dennis93coupe is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.9L coolant issues

    Quote Originally Posted by red_ghost View Post
    Thank you for your response. I already have an fsm and this isn't my first rodeo with this engine.
    Well good for you.. on the FSM...

    Quote Originally Posted by red_ghost View Post
    Replacing the engine would actually cost a lot more, considering the amount of modifications done to it (whole block is painted, most components are chrome plated or ceramic plated, all new sensors (every sensor was replaced 3 years ago), etc)
    Yes, I know. Have already seen pictures of it. And I have read about all of the problems you have had with it. I also know what problems happen after you overheat one of these engines. What I was trying to tell you is that if you have threads pull or strip, can and does happen when the heads get pulled, you might find bad cylinders and or bad heads. If you have damaged threads, just the kit alone is about 900 bucks if you can find one, to fix those threads. It would be a lot less expensive to transfer those bling parts to another engine. Last month I saw an engine and trans priced out for $458 complete and it only had 25k on it. If I would have had a truck, it would be sitting in my garage waiting to slide in under my DeVille.

    Quote Originally Posted by red_ghost View Post
    There is no coolant mixing with the oil. I did a pressure test in january and it lost about 10 psi after a half an hour.

    Yesterday i drove the car for about an hour and it didn't seem to burn anything...
    What can happen with these engines is the cylinder heads expand and contract at a different rate causing the head gasket to fail. It has been tried over and over dumping stop leak in and not very often fixes the problem long term on these engines. You might try doing a compression test, pull the spark plugs out, and go from there.

    So I guess I don't understand what you are asking? about here. It was losing coolant, but now it isn't? And you are asking if you should pull the heads?

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    red_ghost is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 4.9L coolant issues

    Quote Originally Posted by dennis93coupe View Post
    Well good for you.. on the FSM...
    What can happen with these engines is the cylinder heads expand and contract at a different rate causing the head gasket to fail. It has been tried over and over dumping stop leak in and not very often fixes the problem long term on these engines. You might try doing a compression test, pull the spark plugs out, and go from there.

    So I guess I don't understand what you are asking? about here. It was losing coolant, but now it isn't? And you are asking if you should pull the heads?

    Pretty much. Since it stopped, should I worry about it and dig into it, or do you think I should cross my fingers and wait until it does it again, then run more tests? I would just hate to go to a show 2 hours away just to have it start doing it again...


    Maybe I should renew my AAA....

    I was also wondering if it sounds like it may be a problem with the intake manifold gasket instead, being that there is no coolant getting into the oil or vise versa.

    If it did come down to it being a head gasket issue, I figured maybe the cadillac dealership would let me rent the tool for the weekend.

    I don't have access to a engine crane anymore which is why I figured it would be better to just do the head job.

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    Re: 4.9L coolant issues

    Yes, could be intake manifold. Can't rule that out. I had that happen on a 2.8 in a S15 years ago, eroded around the water jackets at 80k and still running at 270k when I got rid of it. All I did was grind out the erosion, jb weld them up and file it flush. I did that just to patch it thinking it might hold for a week. I flushed out the coolant in the galley and drained and refilled the oil a few times after running it 15 minutes. Changed it again a week later and didn't get a drop of coolant down there so I left it go. I know it's a bitch to pull the plugs in the back, but I'd still do a compression test.

    I don't leave home without my AAA, plastic door key and all. Member for 27 years.

    Something else to look at, transmission fluid. Pull the stick and make sure it isn't getting in there.

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    cadillac_al is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.9L coolant issues

    This engine might be a good candidate for the sealant tabs since the possible leak seems small and intermittent. Usually these engines have enough of that stuff in the cooling system already to last forever, or at least a couple coolant changes. Was your cooling system nice and slimy when you drained it before all your work?

  9. #8
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    Re: 4.9L coolant issues

    Finding a coolant leak is a methodic process. Maybe some others can add some other ideas here:

    Here's what's on my to do list as I'm also having an intermittent consumption of coolant which I further confirmed with an Oil Analysis that the coolant was getting into the oil with no visible contamination in the oil or radiator other than a loss in coolant from my resevior. My coolant loss may actually be from disturbing the 2 timing cover bolts when doing my multiple water pump change outs as I read that disturbing those bolts can cause an internal coolant/oil leak.

    Start by flushing the old oil, and getting an oil analysis on the new oil after a few hundred miles like I get locally from a dealer who uses this system:
    http://www.on-siteanalysis.com/pages/products.html
    Locations:
    http://www.on-siteanalysis.com/pages/locations.cfm

    You may want to have your coolant analyzed too!

    Supposedly a better "Block Tester" with a double chamber to confirm exhaust gases in the coolant:
    http://www.uview.com/ProductDetail.p...tNumber=560000

    I just flushed my oil and did an oil change and added some UV Dye I purchased at Advanced Auto to the coolant. I bought both UV Black Light Kits from Advance - Auto Zone. The special goggles in the kit #438 and larger black light in #439. I'll look for both external leaks, and any UV Dye on the plugs, or inner exhaust pipe or any UV Dye in the exhaust water vapor drips. Check every cooling line and rad. for UV dye. Make sure your engine block is clean and put some engine oil on a piece of white paper before adding the dye as sometimes straight oil may have its own glow vs. the UV coolant additive when using the BLACK LIGHT AND GOGGLES.
    http://idqusa.com/products/leak-detection/

    There are so many better and more expensive "Block Head Gasket Sealers" on the market that I've read about over the past few years as discussed below and they all use "Water Glass" or Sodium Silicate with a metallic flake for reinforcement of the repair: Just Google "Water Glass" or "Best Block Head Gasket Sealer". I've read that "Water Glass"was available at older independent pharmacy's and is hard to find but still available for some medical use and on the internet if you wanted to make your own brew but I'd stick with the Auto Blends. Neat history on this stuff anyway.......
    http://www.allpar.com/fix/cracks.html

    I have spoken a few times with CRC who makes this very specific block sealer:
    http://www.crcindustries.com/files/N...20Tutorial.pdf
    http://www.crcindustries.com/auto/?s=401232

    KW CRC just released a NEWER version of the product above and will mix with anti-freeze, but they said it's not as good as the brand above and still must be flushed out. I guess it's a better emergency product if you get have a "leaker" and you still have anti-freeze in the system and can't thoroughly drain it.

    KW Nano Block Seal Turtorial:
    http://catalog.crcindustries.com/Web...n11flx&from=2#

    It's also best to call CRC's Tech Dept. as I think they have another pg. of very specific instructions when using this product. It's a mult-step process and you must follow it exactly as its critical to flush out all of the coolant/anti-freeze or you will end up blocking the cooling jackets with solid glass forming a.k.a. "Sodium Silicate" if it is allowed to mix with anti-freeze.

    If you recall, when the U.S. Gov. had that program where you would voluntarily junk your old running/polluting car, you would get money back from the Feds. They used sodium silicate in the antifreeze to lock the motor so it could never be sold again............stupid Federal program to get old cars off the road and save GM and other car mfgs."Cash for Clunkers" Lots of good motors that were really trashed from this procedure didn't get re-sold in the junk yards, but a lot of yard side-stepped the law and ended up not doing the procedure and re-sold the old motors and double dipped!
    http://www.time.com/time/business/ar...914367,00.html


    Here is a goofy tutorial with some good tips that this guy always gives in his many car repair videos when using these multi-step block sealers to seal a located leak in a combustion chamber ect.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL9QjN7AcW8

    GM Stop leak tabs a.k.a. Bars Leak Tabs were used in so many GM Models over the years for an obvious reason......
    TO MAKE-UP AND COVER FOR BAD ENGINEERING!

    Hope this info helps.............. Anyone else have any thoughts?

  10. #9
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    Re: 4.9L coolant issues

    Video using the Duel Chamber Block Tester by UView as noted above. Supposedly is more accurate than a single chamber teter:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA7KV...feature=topics

  11. #10
    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.9L coolant issues

    I had the same problem with mine when the injectors pushed too much fuel and "popped" the head gasket.

    The problem was the bolts ripped out of the aluminum block on one corner and only pushed water when the motor got really warmed up... Wound up removing the motor to drill, tap, and helicoil the block...

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