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View Poll Results: Select one if you have had a problem with the headgasket the Northstar V8:

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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; All, I've got a sneaking suspicion that the head gasket in my 2001 Deville DHS may be on its way ...
  1. #241
    brendanw is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    All,

    I've got a sneaking suspicion that the head gasket in my 2001 Deville DHS may be on its way out, i.e. the head bolts are pulling out of the block as has been described. Here's what I'm seeing:

    1) I have to add about a quart of oil every 1500 to 2000 miles. I know this because I change the oil every 3000 and I cant make it between oil changes without having to add some. There's no smoke from the exhaust or oil burning smell, and no sign of leakage as would be evidenced by an oil stain after leaving it parked.

    2) Every now and then I get the "CHECK COOLANT LEVEL" prompt on the dash. I throw a little DEX-COOl in there and all seems well for a while.

    So, with these items in mind, how do I confirm, and possibly preempt a head gasket failure? What can I do now to give myself confidence for those long road trips?

    Many thanks!

  2. #242
    N0DIH's Avatar
    N0DIH is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    the NorthStar has had its share of leaks, with the age, look for water pump leaks, radiator leaks and intake/thermostat housing leaks.

    The low coolant light triggers off the surge tank not the radiator, so keep it full, over the full line and let it pee off what it doesn't want if ever, so you are sure to be full.

    Rarely does it leak any off when overfull.

  3. #243
    MrEldo97 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Have the coolant checked for the presence of combustion gases.
    You can get a block testing kit at NAPA for $50.00.
    Timeserting a N* is a lot of work but a COMPETENT DIYer can do it.

  4. #244
    brendanw is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by MrEldo97 View Post
    Have the coolant checked for the presence of combustion gases.
    You can get a block testing kit at NAPA for $50.00.
    Timeserting a N* is a lot of work but a COMPETENT DIYer can do it.
    $50 for a kit at NAPA ... consider it done! What does "Timeserting a N*" mean?

    Also, I had the whole water pump assembly replaced not too long ago, so that should be all set. Again, I dont see any oil or coolant leaks anywhere, but I seem to be adding both on a semi-regular basis.

    I'll get the NAPA kit to test for combustion gases and will report back.

  5. #245
    MrEldo97 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Timeserting = drilling out, tapping and installing 20 steel inserts in all of the head bolt holes. Good repair if done properly. Many/most shops (especially stealerships) take short cuts, rush the job, screw it up and claim the block is unrepairable.
    dwillv and dwillv like this.

  6. #246
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    One quart of oil every 1,000 to 2,000 miles in a Northstar is GM-accepted as normal oil consumption. TSB's on this last year. Posted in Northstar Performance.

    An oil change every 3,000 miles is a waste of oil and money. 5,000 to 7,500 is even too early for a 2001 Northstar. Set your OLM and change oil at 25% to 35%. 5W-30 in whatever good brand floats your boat.

  7. #247
    brendanw is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Aha ... "timeserting" = installing helical inserts (Heli-Coils, etc) ... never heard that one.

    Aha ... "N*" = Northstar ... hey, I'm new to the forum. I cant even post web site link or photos I'm so green.

    So GM bolted two pieces of aluminum together with steel bolts, but no helical inserts and expected it to hold up to significant cyclical pressure loading? Wow, that was a stretch. The 'checker' must have been out sick!

    1 Qt of oil every 1,500 miles is par for the course? Really?

    I have no doubt that changing the oil every 3,000 miles is a bit overkill for almost any modern engine. However, I dont have kids to put through college or a rampant drug / alcohol habit, so I dont mind spending the $30 one extra time per year. It makes me feel better and somehow I think it make the Caddy feel better too!

    Thanks for the help. I'm still looking forward to this coolant test kit project!

  8. #248
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    kckranz is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by N0DIH View Post
    the NorthStar has had its share of leaks, with the age, look for water pump leaks, radiator leaks and intake/thermostat housing leaks.

    The low coolant light triggers off the surge tank not the radiator, so keep it full, over the full line and let it pee off what it doesn't want if ever, so you are sure to be full.

    Rarely does it leak any off when overfull.
    No! The surge tank is to be considered "full", cold, when the fluid level is halfway up the side as marked on the side of the tank itself. This is not a simple "overflow" tank. The air in the tank is essential for correct operation of the system - pressurized to 16 to 18 lbs (depending on the cap) to raise the boiling point of the coolant to 260 - 265 degrees (~ +3 degrees per +1 psi).

  9. #249
    BLUESTAR502 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    95 eldorado 79870 head gasket replaced by headmasters lodi n.j.

  10. #250
    MrEldo97 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    "Aha ... "timeserting" = installing helical inserts (Heli-Coils, etc) ... never heard that one."

    Do your homework on timeserts and then rejoin the discussion...

  11. #251
    mikelawson is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    The worrying part should be over for most everyone. I and others on here repair these engines on a daily basis with 100% success. The Northstar is a great engine that can last 200k to 300k miles no problem, but it may need a head gasket replaced along the way. Most customers pay about 2000 for a complete repair, that includes a tune up, belts, hoses and even a new motor mount, so it's not that expensive anymore. I will have a new website up in a few weeks with a lot of interesting Northstar information.

    Mike

  12. #252
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Aha ... "timeserting" = installing helical inserts (Heli-Coils, etc) ... never heard that one.
    Helicoil? A "Helicoil" will fail during head torquing. Timesert is the factory thread repair. http://www.timesert.com. Better yet stud it. http://www.northstarperformance.com

  13. #253
    av8tor4rc is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    2001 SLS, now has 50221. We both are mid 70’s seniors, and don’t drive it hard. Most trips are rather local, 40-150 miles round trip. Very seldom less than a 20 mile round trip. Mostly in the 50-70 mph range. We bought this new, and it is her car. It does sit in the garage Jan, Feb and Mar every year. Our other car is a ’04 Honda Odyssey. We are both retired, and I do most of the driving, so the Caddy doesn’t get used as much. The Odyssey has a lift for her Hoveround, but we try to drive the Caddy whenever she is not going to need the Hoveround. We try to drive it 3 days a week. It has never been hot, we have never had any warning lights.

    At about 41K, it had a little miss sometimes when starting. I thought it was an injector problem, so I put several doses of injector cleaner in the tank when I filled it. Seemed to cure the problem, but it came back at about 45K. Then one day when I started it, there was quite a bit of steam in the exhaust, (this summer), and when I got back there, I could smell the coolant, so with sinking heart, I knew what was happening. After consulting with several friends, I bought some Barsleak. I pulled the hose off at the motor end, and poured it in. After I put the hose back on, I filled the overflow with tap water. I have put about 1000 miles on it in the last 4 weeks, and there has been no miss, and no steam.

    So, the question is, where do we go from here? She won’t sell her beloved Caddy, besides, I like it too.

    Anyone have any experience or guess how long this might last? Should I have the coolant replaced? If so, should I keep Barsleak in there? Any thoughts, experiences or advice is welcome. I did look at the repair services listed on the forum, and that is the ultimate solution, but it is not an option at this time. Yes, I did call our dealer, and he quoted $6000 or so. I guess that’s his way of saying “unrepairable”.

  14. #254
    timd is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Thumbs up Barsleak Headgasket repair in a bottle

    For those of you who wish to continue the debate, just skip this reply. For those who want to learn something constructive, read on.

    I've used the Barsleak brand head gasket repair in quite a few cars and it works really, really well.

    Most recently in my father-in-law's 99 Eldo with 121k miles.

    First and foremost, use it on a car that is just beginning to have a leakage or overheating problem. Why? Because if you keep driving and overheating the car, it will certainly pull the studs and you'll be looking at the full repair. It is made to fix small headgasket leaks, not perform miracles on blocks with no threads for the bolts to grab onto.

    If you catch the problem before the headstuds pull and follow the directions TO THE LETTER, this stuff is amazing.

    I was a little worried about the pressure at the gasket so I doubled the dose (2 bottles) on the Northstar.

    For those of you who claim that it clogs this or ruins that, it's clear that you've either never used it or didn't follow the directions (see posting right above this one).

    It's to be diluted in water and added to the engine that way ONLY AFTER a complete flush. You run at about 1500rpm's for 20 minutes and then let idle for another hour. Then you let the car cool for an hour and then (yes, while the water is still hot) you drain everything.

    Then let it sit for 24 hours and flush completely AGAIN.

    We added the required 3 GM sealant tabs into the lower hose and filled with Dexcool.

    Dad's El-Dog is still kickin after thousands of miles and it cost us less than $50! If I have to do it again next year, that won't bother me a bit!

    I'm not going to spend a minute responding to people who don't believe me. I don't care if you believe me or not. I don't own stock in Barsleak and I don't care if you'd rather waste $5k instead of trying a $50 fix.

    I wish you all the best.

  15. #255
    mgturbo1's Avatar
    mgturbo1 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Thumbs up re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    I will have to agree with timd, only I didn't use bars leak. I used K&W nanotechnology permanent head gasket and block repair. And this gets even better if it doesn't work double your money back guarantee. seems you have nothing to lose by trying this. Like timd said all the directions accurately. I used this on my 99 STS. it's now 6 months and over 10,000 miles later and still perfectly seal. And I have the blue fluid to test the radiator for combustion gases once a month and so far no sign of a leak.
    enough said.

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