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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; Just do the damn block test people, it clearly should be the first thing done......
  1. #121
    vincentm's Avatar
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    Just do the damn block test people, it clearly should be the first thing done...

  2. #122
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Quite a turnaround from Post #119.

    Yes, do the cylinder block exhaust leak test (regardless of what you did with Norm's Inserts) and use the car's built in diagnostic system to get any stored trouble codes: Every one of your imagined or "felt" problems will set some sort of malfunction code.

    All the parts and sensors you replaced or mentioned, if faulty, would have sent bells ringing and codes a-setting.

  3. #123
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Yes...well, post #119 was before I saw that the P0300 code would return. Also before I took her for an extended spin before going to get inspection prior to DMV visit (obviously nixed the inspect/DMV trip), and before I noted it would still overheat. I've in fact been using the onboard diagnostics system - clearing all codes, only to have the P0300 continually reappear regardless of all efforts thus far. No other codes are being thrown.

    I performed the block test (many times) way back when I was trying to confirm head bolt issue - but never got a clear positive..in spite of fact that I later proved it was head bolts/gasket after tearing it down. So, I didn't hold strong stock in that test with the Northstar. Ok, I can certainly pull my tester out again and give it a whirl.

    Just pulled off EGR to inspect and clean...wasn't excessively dirty or stuck. No change - still throwing same code after sitting at idle for ~5 min. Front coil pack inspected again also - no evidence of arcing or other external visible damage. Rear coil pack obviously tougher access, so have not done another inspection yet for that one.

  4. #124
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Gee whiz, overheating after Normserting it. YUCK. Leaks anywhere? Purge line clogged?

  5. #125
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Nope...no coolant leaks and purge line flows perfectly.

    HMS

  6. #126
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Don't kill me, please but...

    Did you use the right mix?

    Did you insert all the holes properly? I can't think of much that would make it overheat.

  7. #127
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    Yep...wish it was a simple answer. Mix is typical 50/50 and when you say "holes" I assume you mean the block inserts. Everything done by the book and very carefully. So I am seriously stumped as well because clearly I've missed something. I will certainly perform the block test as several suggested. I still have the misfire code that is being caused by something. Hoping it's a componant causing the misfire and that maybe the misfire is root cause for the overheating. I can't hardly imagine the head gaskets are still leaking. I'm not a gearhead rookie, though this was my first northstar head gaskets/bolts repair. Many other similar mechanic repairs (including heads/gaskets across multiple models) done in past...just not northstar, and there is a big difference in the overall project. If really bored (ha ha) go read this entire thread to understand great detail I applied and all the really great help and advice I received here all along the way. I will figure this out. On the "holes" I even called norm on the phone during repair to carefully clarify on proper insert depth since his instructions could be read two ways...so I didn't want to assume. He's a really great person...he actually cares and didn't treat as a dumb question. Spent time with me walking me through depth measurements to make sure I was good before applying the locktite.

    HMS

  8. #128
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    I was bored earlier, and I did read the thread. Yup, that's how I roll.



    Joking aside, this is weird. You said earlier you couldn't seem to find the "ghost" about this problem, and it seems the damn thing is still present. I certainly do not doubt your repair skills, as you mentioned you've done stuff like this before. I guess I think at my level, and many times I do some pretty dumb stuff. I can't immediately recall the details of your pre-gasket repairs, but I'd check the thermostat next. That would be my guess. If, and when, you lost coolant, what did you refill with? Check the water pump. The water pump pulley may not be out of the woods either. Perhaps your radiator is clogged? That seems like a stretch, but who knows.

    Go through the cooling system methodically and carefully. Good luck, and have patience. You can never have enough of that working on these cars.

  9. #129
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    I replaced the thermostat back before, when doing initial troubleshooting. Also the water pump (belt/pully/impeller/idler) is fine. At this point I'll perform the block test since I'm not prepared to start swapping out expensive parts in attempt to shotgun the standing misfire trouble code. It could be one/both coil packs, EGR, o2, TPS...any number of things. But as previous poster pointed out, other codes most likely would be thrown with any of those items in addition to the P0300. I've already eliminated the less costly possibilities. Misfire can even be associated with leaking heads I do believe. So...

    But...This misfire trouble code was even present back before I tore engine down. I had assumed it was directly related to the overheating from blown gaskets. Fact that it still remains present today after reassembly is why I try to think it's a failed componant...though there was zero doubt that the HG's were blown and block threads (two on one side & 1 on the other side) had given way before. I'm trying hard to believe that car had two problems...head bolts/HG and the misfire issue, both being unrelated...at least that's what I TRY/WANT to prove. That is really making a long stretch though I tend to think as well. I do obviously have to diagnose to eliminate possibility that the heads are still leaking (block test).

  10. #130
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    2001 - coil cassettes with individual ICM's - have we been there yet ? One coil breaks down when hot ? A carbon tracked (old) coil/plug boot ? How about individual fuel injector operation ? Cracked/tracked spark plug insulator (guaranteed intermittent miss) ?

  11. #131
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    The coil packs (either side or both) have indeed been considered as a high probablity target for the very reason you stated...due to potential excessive heat failure from the prior HG overheating condition. I stated that is a recent post above, but hesitant to shotgun replace due to high cost. The boots I've inspected multiple times (during engine tear down and reassembly and during very recent plugs replacement). None of the boots appear damaged, brittle or otherwise compromised. Brand new OEM plugs - replaced them the other day in order to rule them out. Individual fuel injectors - all connectors were double checked and reseated, but have not taken a screwdriver or wood to try and listen to each one for firing.

    Honestly, I hold next to no confidence in the block test...but I do still intend to perform the test, perhaps this weekend. I have a tester /w fresh chemical and I do know how to use it. However, I was never able to get a definitive positive test result when troubleshooting via same test originally when it was 100% confirmed after tear down that the HGs were in fact blown.

    Ok - so am I correct that misfiring can potentially cause measurable overheating - what I'm experiencing? It's not mega misfire...most noticable when engine at idle and in gear (rolling at idle speed as example - slight jerking). The single P0300 code will be thrown in about 5-10 minutes, even if it just sits at idle in garage. I can clear the code (resulting in light going off) and it will be right back in another 5-10 minutes. At sustained higher speeds its far less likely to appear...until it's had chances to idle (like at a light).

  12. #132
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    what color is the fluid that you're using for the block test?

    the best fluid is very dark, kind of purple ... if you have a lighter color fluid that could be the problem with you block tests
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  13. #133
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    If I am not mistaken the coil packs are interchangable. Are you only getting a generic 300 c0de or any more specific codes (301 to 308). If you do swapping the coil cassettes should produce a different 30x code if the pack is defective.

  14. #134
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    It's dark blue in color and it is fresh. Haven't seen the purple color before...hmm.

  15. #135
    hms200 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2001 Northstar - Head Gaskets blown or not?? I'm stumped!!

    The coil packs are not interchangable from right/left sides, if that's what you mean. I do believe they are interchangable across a number of years/models, if that's what you mean. Well I don't know if there is a specific code to be thrown if a coil pack is misbehaving or not, other than for any residual engine problems that can result, such as the misfire P0300. Nothing more than that one code - consistantly the only code that gets thrown.

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