1997 Cadillac STS
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, 1997 Cadillac STS in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Hey, guys im new to the Cadillac Forum here. I'm about to buy a 1997 Cadillac Seville Sts. The thing ...
  1. #1
    97CadSTS's Avatar
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    1997 Cadillac STS

    Hey, guys im new to the Cadillac Forum here. I'm about to buy a 1997 Cadillac Seville Sts. The thing about the car is, that it has almost 200,000 milles, and the dealership said it may need head gaskets. I checked the car out, and it is completely mint body, interior, and runs well. I took it for a test drive, and it seemed to climb in temperature a little bit, but at idle it was fine. The car excelerated great, and shifted perfectly. Is there a chance it could be just a thermostat, and or a waterpump? I've heard Cadillacs with the Northstar have alot of problems with head gaskets, so who knows. They are asking $2000 for it, and other than possibly needing head gaskets, it seems to be a great car. My question is that, is it possible to do the head gaskets with the motor in the car, or does it have to be dropped? I've been reading the forums, and most people seem to drop the cradle. Also is it difficult to do the head gaskets?
    Thanks for your help
    -Chris

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS


    It is possible that it could be a thermostat, clogged purge line, water pump belt tensioner or cap, but I would suspect they checked all that out already. Kudos to them for being honest. I have heard of 1 or 2 who have done head gaskets with the engine in the car, but they said it was very difficult and would never do it again. If you do this job, be sure to Timesert all 20 head bolt holes. I would also strongly advise that you get your hands on a FSM before starting. It will come in very handy.

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    97CadSTS's Avatar
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Thanks for your help. This dealership is kinda small, and the mechanic told me he has never worked on a Northstar before. So he said he was just guessing from what hes heard about the Northstar motor. I'm hoping it'll be something other than the head gaskets, but i have a feeling that I'll end up doing them. It sounds like if I do the head gaskets, that I will drop the cradel, because it seems the easiest and most efficient way.

  5. #4
    JC316 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Yes, you HAVE to drop the cradle for the HG. I tried with it in car and it's near impossible, now that I have it out, it's SOOOO much easier.

    $2000 with 200K and a possible blown HG is rough. I gave $1500 for my 98 with 118K and a blown HG.

  6. #5
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    You don't HAVE to drop the cradle on a 93-97 car. It IS easier to though.

    Several people have done it successfully in the car. Like Ranger said, they indicated that they would do it a different way next time, but dropping the cradle is not necessary. Remember, these are 93-97 cars we're talking here. A 98+ might have different clearances in the engine bay.

  7. #6
    jholland is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    j316 is right. That's more like a $500.00 car.

  8. #7
    97CadSTS's Avatar
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Is it a good idea to do head gaskets on a motor with like 200k, on it or is it better to get another motor, and replace it? Im just wondering because I don't wanna do head gaskets, and then have other parts that might fail. How long generally do the internal parts hold up, and timing chains?

  9. #8
    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Our old Guru (a GM powertrain engineer) told us that the chains and lower end should last 300K easily. In fact we have had members with over 300K.The problem with a used engine with lower miles is that you don't know if or when those gaskets may fail.

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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Maybe offer them a grand for the car and drop in a rebuilt motor for 3 grand, you will have a decent car with new engine internals and timeserted for 4 grand if you can do the motor transplant yourself.

  11. #10
    97CadSTS's Avatar
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Okay, thanks. I was figuring that I was just going to do the head gaskets on the motor that comes with the car. Then I know thats one less thing to fail. I didn't really wanna spend the extra money for a motor from the junkyard, that I know really nothing about. The dealership that I'm buying this car from told me that, oh yeah you can just buy a N* from a junkyard for like $350-$500. I told him that he was full of crap. I looked around and the cheapest I could find was for like, $800, and that had alot of miles on it, meaning that it prolly woulda needed head gaskets eventually if not maintenanced. I will probably just pull the cradle, and do the head gaskets, and timeserting the block myself, since itll probably end up needing them.
    Thanks.

  12. #11
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    So...how much does that time-sert kit cost? Also where can I buy the kit? Is that NS300L Insert System Kit, better than the time-sert kit?

  13. #12
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Quote Originally Posted by 97CadSTS View Post
    So...how much does that time-sert kit cost? Also where can I buy the kit? Is that NS300L Insert System Kit, better than the time-sert kit?
    I would not recommend Timesert inserts in a 99 and prior block!
    .
    Use Norms inserts. I am home right now waiting for the UPS truck. It is my lunch break. I have lost too many jobs on 99 and prior cars. towed out. Nothing I could do. I have talked up Norms inserts and believe in them 100%. The dealership I work at did not want to pay for the tool. I have purchased it and will make my money back. the customer will still have to pay for the inserts, but I won't loose the job.
    Norm makes the NS300L.
    Contact me for more info. Norm has set me lots of it as I was trying to get the dealership to buy it.

  14. #13
    97CadSTS's Avatar
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Okay, cool. I'll then probably buy that kit. I'm glad that someone knows what there talking about on this topic, thanks. I've never done head gaskets on a Northstar, only on other gm motors.

  15. #14
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Quote Originally Posted by AJxtcman View Post
    I would not recommend Timesert inserts in a 99 and prior block!
    .
    Use Norms inserts. I am home right now waiting for the UPS truck. It is my lunch break. I have lost too many jobs on 99 and prior cars. towed out. Nothing I could do. I have talked up Norms inserts and believe in them 100%. The dealership I work at did not want to pay for the tool. I have purchased it and will make my money back. the customer will still have to pay for the inserts, but I won't loose the job.
    Norm makes the NS300L.
    Contact me for more info. Norm has set me lots of it as I was trying to get the dealership to buy it.
    Why wouldn't you use timesert it? I thought they were specifically made for the N* if the HGs go.

  16. #15
    z06bigbird is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 1997 Cadillac STS

    Good luck. Whatever you do is a gamble, but that engine is quick.

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