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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix... in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; First off, I have done EXTENSIVE research here... and Thank you for superior knowledge on this specific issue to many ...
  1. #1
    JSTS02 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    First off, I have done EXTENSIVE research here... and Thank you for superior knowledge on this specific issue to many of the main contributors... you guys know who you are... But I think i'll need you a little more on this specific situation...

    2002 Seville STS head gasket failure at 106,000 miles during a 1500+ mile trip soon after replacing a radiator. Had to stop in little tiny towns and find dex-cool after partial overheat...

    Pretty scary... Barely made it... The next morning... thick white smoke, later found coolant in the oil (odd for N*?)No warranty. Sh!#...

    I've talked to alot of techs since then... Most "won't touch it with a 10 foot pole", a few use GM's repair kits, seems risky. Norms kits are either loved or hated... but none have heard of Jakes studs... Regardless the Studs seemed like the best fix to me...

    So I tried to find a side hustle guy to do it my way... I did.. but his success rate was 0% on four northstars, he didn't know there was anything to fix it at all... more risky...

    Then I talked to one guy who... for the first time... sounded like he should have been a member of this forum...

    Here's what happend... He's in Minnesota... 25 year experience and "thousands of cadillacs" under his belt. He normally uses Inserts from a heavy duty cast iron company called Lock-n-stitch (they have a webpage). He quickly diagnosed a misfire (which i had no clue was related) was due to coolant in the cylinder...ok then explained that oil doesnt easily mix with coolant (which i know via cadillac owners) and guessed the car had been sitting allowing the coolant to evaporate and condense on the valve hood (or something like that) and mix with the oil, Correct.

    So then he goes on to recommending the dropping of the engine and replacing all seals and gaskets and stuff... I told him my budget situation and my thoughts on Jakes studs... He says he can do the job with the engine in the car for much less but never heard of Jakes Kit. However... he says the post 2000 northstars have a much longer bolt... so there is not a need to use inserts or studs... mainly just replacing the paper gasket to an MLS gasket. He says it's due to fail after about 16,000 cycles anyhow. He beleives my bolt threads should be intact. Hmmm... is this possible? If so, He'll do it for about $1000. Seems like the best fix to me. Chime in please... I trust the knowledge here... some of these guys are like street engineers...

    Additionally. when the coolant enters the cylinder... is it most likely to cause a misfire in a particular cylinder like cylinder 1? if so... could the feul line be blocked to that cylinder to prevent compression in that particular one? this way it's may be safe enough to drive home from the dealership... dunno...

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  3. #2
    osu411yamaha is offline Banned
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    I think the best person to talk to in this situation would be Jake himself. From what I have seen he is a straight up guy and will tell you the truth. From what I have read if you dont stud it or use inserts you are just asking for problems again even on the post-2000's. Give him a call at his shop or he will probably see this thread and reply. Ask the mechanic if he would do it for 1000 and use Jakes studs. If so you would only be out 1550 for the whole HG job which would be a great deal.....

  4. #3
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    If you are going through the work and expense to open the engine up, I would go the extra mile to either insert or stud it for the insurance. I'm sure this guy is not going to do the job again for free should it fail again in a year or two.

  5. #4
    97EldoCoupe is offline U.S. Patent #8,740,532 - www.studkit.com
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    NO! The threads HAVE to be repaired somehow either with studs or inserts. No other way. If he skips this part of the process, steer clear. And with studs, the work cannot be done with the engine in the car.

    And to have done thousands of HG jobs on Caddys, I think that's BS unless he's been doing 2 per week for over 10 years. I thought I've done quite a few, at just over 100.

    If he orders my studs and installs them, go ahead and use his services. Maybe even with inserts of some type. But if he leaves the holes alone, forget it. Just be cautious and careful.

  6. #5
    JSTS02 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    makes sense.... what about the coolant in the cylinder making it misfire, do you find that coolant is usually in cylinders 1 & 7?.... is it possible to block the fuel to a particular cylinder to prevent compression in that particulare one?

    also... any thoughts on "lock-n-stich" inserts?

  7. #6
    Submariner409's Avatar
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    Coolant in cylinders is usually the last/worst stage of head gasket failure. Two cylinders bad, and not siamesed cylinders at that, points to drastic bolt hole failure.

    While the heads are off and the engine is out of the car, have the mechanic do a thorough check of the cylinders, particularly #7, for evidence of a cracked liner. There have been a couple of those in here over the years.

    Never heard of "lock-n'-stitch". Go with Jake's studs. With the availability of the studs or Norm's Inserts, I would steer away from Timeserts and NEVER try to Helicoil a Northstar block. NEVER.

  8. #7
    JSTS02 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    that's for chiming in guys... makes my northstar headgasket hell a little better..... i know how good submariner and eldo are with this stuff... so...



    how would i be able to tell if the car hydrolocks? I took it to cadillac for diagnosis and when i came to pick it up and take it somewhere to get fixed it wouldnt even start.... just clicked... the guy there said it may not be locked but preventing itself from starting so it doesnt lock... what if cadillac hydrolocked my car?

  9. #8
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, slap in a big stereo
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    Hard to just tell if a hydrolock is present without: 1.Trying to roll the engine using the crankshaft pulley bolt and 2. At the same time pulling all the spark plugs to see if fluid squirts out the plug hole(s).

    IF the engine hydrolocked while running, even at idle, you have problems that can include cracked pistons and/or rings, cracked cylinder liner, cracked head, and one or more bent connecting rods. Fluids are not compressible: the engine breaks, every time.

    If the engine just clicks when the key is turned, I'd suspect a battery or starter electrical fault. If the engine goes "click - clunk" then you have big trouble.

  10. #9
    JSTS02 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    Do the Fel-pro Head bolts on rockauto come in sets of 10 or 20?

    i need 20 for both sides right?

  11. #10
    osu411yamaha is offline Banned
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    Yes you need 20 head bolts. Not fel-pro though. You need 20 of Jakes studs. That is unless you plan on doing this job twice.

    northstartperformance.com

  12. #11
    JSTS02 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    Well... I understand that Jakes studs are very good... however, I'm having the job done with engine in car... So norms is the only way to go... am I right or am i right?

    so I really need to know if the fel-pro head bolt kit on rock auto includes 10 or 20 head bolts for the price of $30? Anyone know?

    Also should I have the heads taken to a machine shop if the car never overheated?

    Please get both questions!

  13. #12
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, slap in a big stereo
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    Yes, Norm's Inserts and careful machine work.

    The RockAuto site shows a set of 10 head bolts for $30. You need 2 sets, or call - they're really helpful.

    Northstar heads stay pretty true. If the valve guide seals are not leaking (excessive oil consumption/high mileage) and the valves have no obvious cracks or burned edges, don't bother. Carefully clean everything and DO NOT use ScotchBrite on anything within 100 miles of a disassembled engine.

  14. #13
    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    I doubt you're getting anything but head gaskets for $30. I think a set from the dealer come with the bolts.

  15. #14
    mikelawson is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    You are correct Ranger, the head gaskets from GM include bolts. There is a 30.00 difference if you use OEM vs. FELPRO. In the past, I used Felpro exclusively, but here lately, I have decided to use the OEM as the last few Felpro gaskets have looked a little rough.

  16. #15
    JSTS02 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NEW - 2002 Head Gasket Failure - Best Fix...

    Yeah I just picked up another set from advance auto parts... and the Fel pro gaskets from rock auto do look a little rough. O well...

    20 Fel-Pro Head Bolts... check
    2 Fel pro Head Gaskets... check
    20 Norms inserts w/jig tap drill thing... check!

    Total so far.... uhhh about $520

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