Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; After driving my 98 Deville that just got out of the shop (HG repair w/ Stud Kit) for approximately 30 ...
  1. #1
    Netjive8's Avatar
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    Exclamation Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    After driving my 98 Deville that just got out of the shop (HG repair w/ Stud Kit) for approximately 30 miles, it is now producing white smoke from the exhaust (not a ridiculous amount, but still worrisome). I am pretty sure that the smoke smells like coolant.

    It first started when I attempted to start it and the car made a weird noise (I don't think it was a backfire, more like a clunk), so I attempted to start the car again and it fired up fine. I got out of the car to make sure nothing under the hood was amiss, and I saw that white smoke was coming out of the exhaust. I then shut the car off and tried to figure out what had just happened since the 30 previous miles had been relatively "trouble free".

    Since at first I thought that the smoke was a result of a fuel problem (I didn't smell the exhaust until later), I decided to drive it down the road and back hoping that the problem would resolve itself. During the drive it continued to smoke, but the amount of smoke varied from barely at all to a lot. Also, the car's temperature went up to 230 degrees before I got it back home. Normally the car was staying around 200-210. After it reached 230 it made its way back down to about 220. I then cut off the car once I got home. Also, there were never any messages or indicators from the computer.

    Before the car started smoking I was getting a "check coolant" message, but I had chalked it up to the cooling system purging itself of air, and lowering the coolant level after being repaired. By the time it had started smoking (keep in mind this all took place within only 5-10 miles of driving, because I was trying to fix a misfire and I made multiple trips to test the car), I had not had a chance to add any coolant.

    After parking the car I bought some coolant and added a little less than a gallon before I was able to see that the coolant level was a few inches from the filler neck of the surge tank. After that I cranked it and let it idle for a minute while I examined the exhaust. It was barely smoking at all and had no distinct smell this time, but it was very moist. I realize that this would probably change if I was actually driving the car.

    So right now I'm wondering what could have happened to cause this. I don't know for sure that it is head gaskets again, and I can't even fathom what could have caused it if that is the case. I know that the stud kit has had no failures, and I'm not accusing it at all, so that would mean that something else is causing it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am very concerned about the possibility of such a major problem. It seems like I'm getting every problem in the book thrown at me this week, hence my various postings this week. I know that this is a long post, so thanks for reading. I'm trying to include as many details as possible, but I'm sure I've forgotten something. Thanks again.

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    I know that the stud kit has had no failures, and I'm not accusing it at all, so that would mean that something else is causing it.
    Improper installation or head torquing. I'd get it back to however did the job ASAP and have it documented that there seems to be a problem.

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    coaster is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    listen to the advice ranger gave you so you can be sure that if they did something wrong they will fix the problem so dont jump to conclusions take the car back and go from there good luck im sure it will work for the best for you.

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    Besides head torquing, what other installation pitfalls could have occurred. I just want to give my mechanic as much information as possible because this was the first N* stud kit he has installed (he was the only person I could find who would do it).

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    I suppose he could have drilled and tapped a bad block. See the "Root Cause" sticky. Other than that, Jake would probably be better equipped to answer that question.

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    Unlikely but possible things that come to mind: improper torque values or sequence, cracked or warped head, cracked block or cylinder liner, head gaskets installed upside down?

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    I'm going to have a compression test done to narrow down the problem. I talked with Jake on the phone and he was very helpful. Hopefully he'll be able to post on the forum again after he sorts through some technical issues with logging in.

    With regard to the previously mentioned causes, are there any that are more likely to cause a more sudden problem. It just suddenly began smoking after 30 miles (after the repair) with no symptoms other than a "check coolant" message and a slight misfire.

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    Man, they screwed something up on that installation. Get that puppy back there soon.

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    I had a compression test done yesterday. I was informed that all 8 cylinders passed @175 psi, but that there was coolant getting into cylinders 4 and 6. Earlier I had traced my misfire down to cylinder 6, so it that might be connected. It's possible to gain some access to the heads on the front(left) of the engine, right (remove water pump, valve cover, etc)? Is that what should do next?

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    What you should do is take it back to the shop who did the repair for you

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    i know the car is still under warrenty so take it back you should not worry about nothing take it back yesterday

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    Why are you still screwing with it? Take it back!

  14. #13
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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    I need to figure out what is wrong with it first. I'll deal with the shop if there is an installation problem, but they gave me a good price on the job under the condition that if the head gaskets blew after the repair, they would not fix it under warranty. They had worked with a few northstars before with no little success (obviously they were using an inferior repair like heli-coils or timeserts, if they even did an insert). Also, they were the only shop that I could find that would do the job at all, or without spending $4,000. Besides, even if it was under warranty, wouldn't they open it up and see that it's another problem other than the head gaskets themselves (assuming no installation error)? In hindsight it might not have been a good decision, but my reasoning was that the head gaskets were highly unlikely to fail after the repair, and I was getting a good price (considering my options).

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    Timeserts should have held. No inserts of any kind or Helicoils is playing Russian Roulette with an automatic.

    they gave me a good price on the job under the condition that if the head gaskets blew after the repair, they would not fix it under warranty. They had worked with a few northstars before with no little success (obviously they were using an inferior repair like heli-coils or timeserts, if they even did an insert).
    WOW! Red flags. I hate to say it, but it sounds like they had little idea what they where doing and you rolled the dice and lost. That sucks!

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    Re: Head Gasket symptoms after Head Gasket repair

    I don't know what they had done previously, they might have just put headbolts in the existing holes for all I know, I was just speculating. I have no evidence right now to believe that they did something wrong during my repair.

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