2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!! - Page 8
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!! in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; LATEST UPDATE... Ok, so with engine reinstalled into my vehicle I was then able to transport it to my new ...
  1. #106
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    LATEST UPDATE...
    Ok, so with engine reinstalled into my vehicle I was then able to transport it to my new home in Dallas (I've relocated from Denver to Dallas).

    Almost finished with the project. All "under the hood" reassembly has now been completed, except the following. I'm very-very close now to closure on this project.

    Remaining:
    1. Radiator, fans, upper/lower hoses, and tank
    2. Condensor and recharge A/C (with a new accumulator)
    3. Oil & Filter
    4. Battery
    5. Air Filter Assembly
    6. Alignment

    Btw...I now also know exactly how it takes to dig down to the hidden starter if/when it fails - 45 minutes! Not so bad really. Ha Ha...um...I found a long, unattached battery lead just hanging there by battery tray as I started removing all my tied back wiring, hoses and such. Gulp...I FORGOT to attach it to the Solenoid before installing the intake manifold...grrr. So lesson learned...install intake manifold AFTER engine is back in the car - LOL

    So...anybody care to wager if my baby will crank on first attempt after such a major surgery?

  2. #107
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Gents...project is complete...ALMOST.

    Appears I forgot to plug in engine temp sensor as I installed engine. I'm getting no response from temp gauge though all other elec is fine.

    Any tips on where sensor is located and if I will have access now that engine installed and everything else is connected?

    Also check engine light is on. Can I clear codes to reset the light?

    Engine runs great btw.

    Howard

  3. #108
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 97EldoCoupe
    Jake's Inserts? I am missing something....
    LOL...just spotted my error...sorry about that. Norms Inserts used...no clue how I shifted to jake on the updates...did not go with the studs.

    Howard

  4. #109
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Quote Originally Posted by hms200 View Post
    Any tips on where sensor is located and if I will have access now that engine installed and everything else is connected? Also check engine light is on. Can I clear codes to reset the light?
    ECT sensor is on the right rear (bellhousing) end of the engine right at the head/cylinder block seam - just about in front of your gas pedal toes. Hope you have long fingers.

    Clear codes - and have them stay gone ??? It depends on what is setting the SES light.

  5. #110
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Hmm...I will inspect that side and location of engine again, but I didn't spot it or any dangling unspoken for connector wiring. I do recall plugging a simple 2-wire connector in that area though during final under the hood assembly - suspect that was it. I do now also seem to recall the sensor...but I'll double check.

    However...I DID find a dangling connector with a rather short extension on opposite side of engine rear corner (passenger side toward firewall), but cannot for life of me understand what I failed to connect back there. I've checked everything I see near there...access is so darn tight back there that it's extremely difficult to see well. I checked all the few obvious connections that the short length could reach. I cannot see rear head area though below the water bypass lines. Any ideas on that and can it can be associated with temp gauge not functioning you think? I do need to find where that connector goes...either a 3 or 4 wire flat connector.

    Blown fuse perhaps? The temp sensor and gauge were both working perfectly before I dropped the engine - was reporting the overheating state just nicely.

  6. #111
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Quote Originally Posted by submariner409 View Post
    ECT sensor is on the right rear (bellhousing) end of the engine right at the head/cylinder block seam - just about in front of your gas pedal toes. Hope you have long fingers.

    Clear codes - and have them stay gone ??? It depends on what is setting the SES light.
    Ok - I found the sensor and disconnected harness connector. Not by visual, but rather by feeling around from under side - only access I had. Reconnected and now temp gauge works fine. On the other side, against firewall, I also found where that connector belonged...a senor on rear head corner. If I remember right it's a sensor that appears to scan exhaust timing sprocket, but not sure of it's true function. Anybody know?

    Ho boy - so now I have a massive leak in the A/C suction/discharge hose. Not sure exactly where, but I tested by shooting a can of refrigerent into the system after I was unable to pull down a vacuum - yep, massive leak. Maybe rubber hose got pinched somewhere along the process of cradle drop or reinstall. In any case, just ordered new line from Rock Auto.

    The Check Engine light is still on...assuming I need to clear all the trouble codes stored from prior engine issues, and also most likely from the recent sensors not responding due to my lapse in connectivity during cradle reinstall. Isn't there an onboard controls trick for reading the codes and clearing? There is such for my Deville.

    Howard

  7. #112
    bill buttermore is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Quote Originally Posted by hms200 View Post
    ...On the other side, against firewall, I also found where that connector belonged...a senor on rear head corner. If I remember right it's a sensor that appears to scan exhaust timing sprocket, but not sure of it's true function. Anybody know?...
    If your engine is like mine, I'm thinking that would be the cam position sensor.

  8. #113
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Read and study the OBD-2 procedure in the sticky post ^^^ "How to pull codes". It's all built into your car.

    The CaMshaft Position sensor uses a Hall effect trigger to calculate piston TDC for timing reference. If it fails or has no signal the ignition system defaults to the limp home timing settings.

  9. #114
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    CMP isnt hard to replace either, one 10mm bolt and shes out, but dont do like i did. Wait for the engine to cool it also helps to have skinny hands

  10. #115
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    This is for future reference since I didn't see the history here. I never did see a definitive diagnosis or whether the gasket was actually leaking or if any head bolts were loose or had failed threads.
    The rapid heat-up and subsequent boil-over indicate the lack of any coolant flow. Does the lower hose get hot when this is occurring? Does the radiator get hot? Start it cold with the fans running full speed in manual. The air should get hot from the radiator and it should a long time to get hot. Watch the engine temperature to see if the temperature rise is gradual or is there a sudden jump. Take out the thermostat and establish full flow by starting it cold, then slide off the upper hose at the radiator. It should be a deluge with a throttle blip. I know it sounds stupid but it sounds like the water pump has no impeller or is somehow blocked. A head gasket builds up pressure in the cooling system from the leakage of combustion gas which displaces the water with subsequent overheating from a lack of water. Yours sounds like it is overheating while full of water. Either the pump isn't pumping or the radiator is not allowing flow. What does the heater do? With full flow it should get hot quickly with the engine. We are assuming that you have a properly installed 16 pound coolant tank cap. Anything less will let the water out.

  11. #116
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Hi Raymond. This very long thread provides all the history. Issue was definitely the dreaded failed head bolt threads. I repaired by the book using Norms Inserts. Was a really big job start to finish given that it was my first northstar head gaskets repair effort. After doing this one I learned a ton so if ever a repeat it would be half the effort.

    Howard

  12. #117
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Ok well...new problem gents...

    A/C is final remaining issue. Was determined that the main AC hose had a major leak, so I replaced the hose and the drier/accumulator. So...then pumped down system and attempted to charge. Compressor never engage and message center displayed "Low Refrig AC Off" and low side gauge is near pegged out. Was not able to get more than little over 14 oz of refrig into system, but with no positive results. System almost seems plugged up. Compressor is connected, and all line sensors as well, unless there is a hidden sensor that I'm not seeing.

    Anybody care to suggest what this issue might be? Compressor seized? I can't really say if AC was working before I toke into the engine. It was winter and I had just bought the car, so I can't be certain of AC prior to that. I "thought" it worked...but maybe that was just an assumption. Sure seems like a failed compressor to me. AC compressor fuse is good but I don't know how to test the relay or if that should be considered suspect or not. Any ideas?

  13. #118
    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    You have to clear that low refrigerant DTC to enable the compressor. Do it with everything hooked up and ready for charging or it will disable again. It gets disabled when it's low on refrigerant to prevent damage to it.

  14. #119
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Thanks Ranger - yes I read other threads after posting my question and saw that. Worked like a champ...the battery disco trick did it for the immediate, and then I also went in and cleared the codes as well. That also turned off the check engine light - so all is good. A/C charged up perfectly - ice cold. This project is now officially complete once I get the alignment and fresh inspection/registration. She runs like a top - not even tracking bad (perfect actually) given that alignment not yet performed. All the help and advice provided by you really smart folks all along the way has been greatly appreciated!! Made the major undertaking so much easier and definitive. It's always great when there is validation, given that repair manuals are always lacking some little tip or tid bit along the way. Nothing replaces good ol hands on prior experience. The giving nature and level of expertise of this forum is simply amazing.

    So...my near mint condition 2001 Eldorado now has new life and will be screaming down the road again after a quick trip to DMV this week.

  15. #120
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Gentlemen - I'm sure glad this is a hobby project for me!! LOL

    Ok, so I got past the A/C issue - she is ice cold!!

    BUT....

    Q1 - She STILL overheats!! No clue if original owner ever used any snake oil (stop leak or other mystery/magic substance) by chance in an attempt to stop the overheating issue - I've sent that question to him and still awaiting reply. I'm trying to troubleshoot what may now be causing the overheating. Radiator might be stopped up or restricted if any substance was used to try and fix the issue before?

    Q2 - She still has the Check Engine Light condition, even after resetting all the codes multiple times. I'm getting a code P0300, random misfiring. Symptom is low idle, idle a little unsteady, a little bit of slight lurching/jerking when put in gear at idle. She will even throw a new 0300 code by simply sitting at idle for maybe 5-10 minutes. All the performance symtoms disappear though if not at idle. There is a long list of possible causes, so hoping maybe you folks can help me here...hopefully not the symptom of failed head gaskets.

    •Already installed new crank sensors before installing engine - so that suspect is ruled out (I hope)
    •Just replaced spark plugs (though others looked near new) - so that's ruled out
    •Just replaced cam position sensor, with no change - so that's ruled out
    •No vacuum leaks that I can detect
    •Fuel pump (weak pressure) isn't suspect I think because she runs fine at higher speed
    •O2 sensors are commonly misdiagnosed as culprit - but seldom are the root cause, as I understand it?

    So I'm stumped...aside from leaking head gaskets (I SURE hope not!!), it could still be a number of other things not yet replaced or checked...
    •Spark Plug Coil Pack (either/both)
    •O2 Sensor (either/both)
    •Defective EGR
    •Defective Throttle Position Sensor

    I can't hardly imagine the check engine or overheating are still directly associated with head gasket issue/repairs. Repairs were done carefully and exactly to spec, plus reassembly and torque of head bolts also done exactly to spec. This is a true head scratcher.

    Any insight you gents may have with any of this will be greatly appreciated.

    Howard

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