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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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  • 1993

    18 2.38%
  • 1994

    38 5.03%
  • 1995

    13 1.72%
  • 1996

    40 5.29%
  • 1997

    151 19.97%
  • 1998

    166 21.96%
  • 1999

    170 22.49%
  • 2000

    81 10.71%
  • 2001

    56 7.41%
  • 2002

    41 5.42%
  • 2003

    14 1.85%
  • 2004

    0 0%
  • 2005

    3 0.40%
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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; help ? im looking for imformation on a vin y head gasket r r 1994 deville concourse where do i ...
  1. #61
    cadijunkie is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    help ? im looking for imformation on a vin y head gasket r r 1994 deville concourse where do i go to post questions im new i dont know what 2 do.

  2. #62
    earl ludington is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Had a 94 Concours go bad. Rear gasket. Then head bolts stripped out. Junked the car after sitting 4 years. Approx 150,000 miles. Learned from a car dealer friend to always sniff exhaust pipes and check by hand feel(sticky) for antifreeze even if oil looks good. I have had 3 more N*'s and still have a 4.5 Allante, now that I know what to look for. I'm sure these quality problems are a big part of the poor resale value of Cadillac's overall.

  3. #63
    N0DIH's Avatar
    N0DIH is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    How reliable the fixes? New gaskets/timeserts hold up?

  4. #64
    rd62rdstr is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    I'm going through it now. Dealer maintained religiously. Never abused. 97,000 miles.
    I love the car (Concours Deville), am now hating the motor. If I fix it, I will sell it and buy a 93 or 94 Fleetwood. I bought this after swearing off of Fords because my Expedition had a problem with spitting spark plugs out of the aluminum heads. I may just go back to an older classic with a nice 327. These manufacturers seem to be taking advantage of us with inferior cars and higher prices.

  5. #65
    N0DIH's Avatar
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    I can be completely honest, I original was looking for a 94-96 Concours Deville, but once I started hearing about the head gasket issues on the N* I started looking at the Fleetwoods and ended up buying the first one I looked at. Ended up being a factory V4P car (7000# tow package). I need dead nuts reliability, I have already put 100K on my FW since Feb 05. I can't risk down time nor expensive to fix. The LT1/4L60E/Conventional RWD chassis fits the bill.

    Ford Expeditions are just awful on mpg from all the owners I have talked, actually, anyone with a 5.4L says they get 12mpg and that is it. My 350 Suburban NEVER got below 12, and typically got 13.5-14, and 15-17.5 on the highway. Forget Ford and good mpg on the mod motors, in a truck they just don't have it....

    I want a car that I can drive daily, hot rod and enjoy the heck out of it, but still rely on it, and in the end, be able to fix it if I had to (remove engine/trans myself in my garage instead of relying on a shop to do it for me)

  6. #66
    MRBENZ is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    My father-in-law swears by the Cadillac with the Northstar engine. He has had 3 or 4 in the last 10 years, all kept under 60k miles before trading. I had become a Mercedes person. So, my wife was needing another car and we decided to buy a 2000 Deville with 74k on it. I have put 8k on it and now have a job of replacing the headgasket if the dealer will do it. I have had one external mechanic tell me that the recommendation from Cadillac is replace the motor in stead of repair due to the aluminum motor. This will probably be my only gripe session on this subject, but thought I would share my thoughts. I love the looks and the ride of the Deville. I have talked to many Cadillac mechanics and they say that it is normal that the Northstar engine use a little oil. Mine does, but that is not that much of an issue to me. I do not accept that it is normal for a car new to 100k miles to use oil. I have a 1990 Mercedes with the v8 that uses zero oil and that car has 179k on it. It also does not have a head gasket problem and require the replacement of the motor. My opinion, the Cadillac produces very stylish and comfortable cars, but the Northstar engine is nothing but junk. I hate to get rid of the car because I like the car as far as looks, but just as soon as I can get it repaired and/or trade it, it will be my first and last Cadillac. GM just proved to me what I have thought for years, that they produce junk at premium prices. I understand that if a car is abused such as running it with low oil often and never changing any of the fluids, there can be problems, but a headgasket to blow after 82k is not likely due to abuse. It is possible, but not likely. It is more likely that it is just a faulty piece of machinery. Right now, there are 4 other Devilles that are 2000-2001 that are at the dealership with the exact same problem as mine. That is just unacceptable. And the Dexcool coolant that is used from the factory is junk that probably cause many of the problems. It gums the radiators, thermostats, and the probably the waterpumps up. It sets up like wax. Also, if you are getting the message on your dash that you need to check the coolant level, then your sensor has been gummed up by this Dexcool and will probably need to be replaced. Sorry for the gripe session, but I am very disappointed with the Cadillac product. I will go back to the Mercedes for my wife. I own 2 currently and as soon as I can get the Cadillac fixed, will be trading it in for a 3rd Mercedes. I have owned 3 now with one having 220k on it and never this kind of problem.

  7. #67
    N0DIH's Avatar
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    I still stand by as the #1 most reliable Cadillac is the LT1, but honestly, could be tied with the L05, the 307 Olds, and then the 4.9L, with the injectors being the real issue with 4.9L's and main bearing thump. The LT1's had some early problems with the Opti's, and the L05's nothing that I can really think of.

    I honestly don't know much on MBenz, but I really did fall in love with the 2000 prototype S500 I drove (freaking rocket for a big car!), the one we had was around S/N 300, made in Oct 98 or so. Not sure on reliability, but I sure would love one....

  8. #68
    clarkz71's Avatar
    clarkz71 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by MRBENZ View Post
    I have a 1990 Mercedes with the v8 that uses zero oil and that car has 179k on it. It also does not have a head gasket problem and require the replacement of the motor. My opinion, the Cadillac produces very stylish and comfortable cars, but the Northstar engine is nothing but junk. .
    Well I am a Mercedes Benz technician and I was a dealer tech from 1982 to 1999.
    I now work at an independent MB shop. Head gasket problems affect MB engines just as badly as Cadillac.
    Back in the early 80's the M116 or 380SL 380 SEL and 380 SEC all had head
    bolt issues. "When" the headgaskets had to be replaced the headbolt threads
    pulled and thread inserts had to be installed in the aluminum engine block.
    81,82 and 83 engines were affected. In 84 the changed to nickel/chrome bolts.

    And don't get me started on the timing chain B/S. In 1982 when benz went to the 380 engine (M116) from the
    cast iron block 450 (M117) they changed from a double row chain to a single row. Well they were coming in with
    30K miles with a broken chain and bent valves. Warranty covered the repair but imagine the cars that made it
    out of warranty. Again, in 1984 they switched back to a double row chain.

    As recently as 1999 the M104 built from 1991 on has cronic headgasket leakage problems.

    There's not emough room to list all the problems I've seen with
    Mercrdes Benz in my 25 years of experience working on them in one post.

  9. #69
    clarkz71's Avatar
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Here's the latest JD Power survey. Cadillac is 5th, Mercedes is 22nd.

    Mercedes was "the" car back in the day, no longer.



    http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/quality-ratings/

  10. #70
    N0DIH's Avatar
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quality of Benz down? Did Chrysler do that much to them?

  11. #71
    MRBENZ is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Speaking of MB, I was not saying that they never had any problems. I was only stating that you would very rarely find a MB with only 82k on it with this problem. MB's prime cars, in my opinion were the w126 series. Although I am sure there were some problems, I have had MB mechanics here tell me that was when MB made a name for themselves as far as longivity. I have had 3 MB, one had 220k and running perfect with no oil consumption and never had a blown headgasket before I sold it, one that I still currently own with 179k on it and has never had a blown headgasket and another one I own currently with 91k and so far no problems. I talk to more and more MB owners and rarely do I find where there has been a blown headgasket, even with 150k. Since my ownership of my 2000 Deville and the problem, I am running into more and more Cadillac owners with the Northstar engine that either have had this problem or are having it currently. Again, 4 in the dealer with the same problem at the same time, is unacceptable. If you have a Northstar with 60k on it, my advice for what it would be worth would be to get rid of it an trade it. I have already warned my father-in-law because his has about 50k on it and he has admitted that he is starting to have some minor computer problems. All manuafactures have their problems, but I just feel Cadillac has let us all down in not addressing the issue and tring to get it fixed where there would only be rare cases show up. New Years Eve in NY, there was a major GM adverstisement on one of the screens on the street there. I told my wife, they should have taken some of the millions spent on that and put it into the research to fix some of the problems such as blown headgaskets at 82k. My main point I was trying to get across is that, sure all have their problems, but the chances of getting a MB with 82k with a blown headgasket are much less than with the Cadillac. My chances are already less in that I have had 3 MB, all with more miles than my Deville, and the Deville is the one with the problem. And, with Cadillac making the recommendation to "replace" the motor versus fixing it, tells me that they like selling new motors to people. And, they won't resolve the problem as long as they can sell a new motor every 80k miles at a cost of $4000-$7000. If Cadillac was smart, they would do the research and fix the problems to reduce the chances of having this problem and in turn, people would be more willing to buy Cadillacs over and over. That is one reason I have grown close to MB. Yes, I have had problems in the past with the ones I owned, but when you have something go wrong with 150k or 200k on the clock, you tend to realize that they won't last forever and you don't mind spending the money to fix. But when you get one as young as my Deville, it makes you think that it is just not a well built car.

  12. #72
    N0DIH's Avatar
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    My thoughts are: GM found this problem early on it the life of the N*. Back in the early 90's. It should never have escaped 1994 at the latest. They HAVE the tools to figure this out, and to eliminate it. If it takes some WORK, then do so. My LT1 is over 240K now (just barely) and I stomp on it often, no blown gaskets. I can't imagine a small block Chevy "dealing" with issues like that. It is further more embarassing that Cadillac does.

    GM's quality is supposed to be good based on QS9000/TS16949. But they still won't take it seriously. They are learning that painful lesson now, as Toyota IS taking it seriously and starting to outsell GM. It is truly sad that GM won't get serious. I hate to say it, a lot of it is the quantity vs quality mentality, and I am sure the unions aren't helping anything. GM needs to stop beating the snot out of the suppliers for the problems they have and take the roll they need to be in and use it to do what they need to do. GM is their own worst enemy.

    Motorola wrote the book on quality with the Six Sigma and Digital Six Sigma programs. GM needs to get into school and LEARN it. They WILL eliminate the quality defects quickly and effectively. It will teach them how. If you apply the principles of Six Sigma, you CAN'T have bad quality. But you have to apply them. You have to WANT to have good quality.

    GM has the 5 Phase Action Plan should also show the issues. Ford uses the 8D for problem solving. Both are similar, they both accomplish the same thing. But they have to be used!! Take that and apply Six Sigma and you WILL eliminate the quality defects that plauge the company!

  13. #73
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    I dumped my 94 when the headgaskets started to go. The car had 187k on it though so I think they where due to go.
    I wish the car was in better shape cosmetically because I would have paid the money to fix it.

  14. #74
    dwight.j.carter's Avatar
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Would it hurt the car to change back to the green antifreeze ?
    I plan to drain my dexcool and refill it every year or two hopefully that will keep it fresh.

  15. #75
    Destroyer's Avatar
    Destroyer is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Definitive Northstar Headgasket Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by misfit6794 View Post
    Where's destroyer when you need him?
    You rang?. My '98 bit the big one w/98k miles on the odometer. Dont like the stench of Dex cool and dont wanna hear of purge lines and coolant tablets or anything like that again. Only N* I will drive again is a rental.

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