Cost of DIY Headgaskets/studs?

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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Cost of DIY Headgaskets/studs? in Cadillac Engine Discussion; As I consider whether or not to venture into the STS (Northstar) world, I was wondering what the current ballpark ...
  1. #1
    Hi-psi is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): NONE
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Atlanta, GA

    Cost of DIY Headgaskets/studs?

    As I consider whether or not to venture into the STS (Northstar) world, I was wondering what the current ballpark figure is for a do it yourself headgasket & stud job. I've seen anywhere from $2500-4000 quote for having someone else do it, but being the gearhead I am I'd be find tackling it myself. Simply have no idea what the actual gaskets cost, any other required seals/gaskets for the diss-assembly/reassembly, the stud kit, and any other odds & ends. So labor excluded, what's the damage?

    I understand although some claim to be able to do it in the car it's best to pull the engine, whether you drop it out from the bottom or pull from the top, so really just looking for some numbers.

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, install a boombox
    Automobile(s): 2002.5 F55 STS - 67,500 miles, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    MD Eastern Shore, Kent Island

    Re: Cost of DIY Headgaskets/studs?

    By the time you get finished with obsessing over a possible head gasket problem you'll be an old man .

    Find a late model year 2002 - 2003 STS and drive happy. (RPO F55 Magnetic Ride Control)

    WITHOUT LABOR COST, Blow it up and you're looking at $2,500 max for damn near a complete DIY overhaul, but the engine won't need that: $1250 for the studs and gaskets for a top overhaul (the lower end will be OK if you get one with no halfcase/oil pan gasket leaks [not weeps - leaks]). The 2000+ engine is roller cam, so valves, followers and cams are out of the equation, too.............BUT an engine with over 100Kmiles would want valve stem seals, too.

  4. #3
    Rodya234's Avatar
    Rodya234 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): 1998 Seville STS / 2013 Chevrolet Impala
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Chicago, IL

    Re: Cost of DIY Headgaskets/studs?

    I bought my car with a confirmed failed head gasket for $2000, and between numerous top end gaskets, and Jake's stud kit, I'm sitting at just over $800 for the repair right now, before I factor in the cost of oil, coolant, WD40, brake parts cleaner, and other little things. With only 63k miles on the car, I'm hoping I don't have any worn cam lobes/lifters.

    Also, it's practically a guarantee that you will find something else that you need to fix while the engine is out of the car. In my case, I'm going to need a power steering return line (only rusty bit on the car) and probably a front motor mount, and that's just what I can tell with the engine still in the car. That's another $100 there.

    Additionally, keep in mind that any car you buy will have other issues, even without a H/G problem. Budget accordingly. And please take the time to learn all of what's wrong with that individual car before you pull the trigger on it, lest you'll spend weeks and stress yourself out chasing problems that don't exist, or worse, being surprised by ones that do.

    When all is said and done, I'd budget around $1000 for the H/G job alone.

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  6. #4
    maeng9981's Avatar
    maeng9981 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): 14 SRX, 00 SLS, 99 Deville 50-year Anniversary
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Dallas, TX

    Re: Cost of DIY Headgaskets/studs?

    Stud kit? $549. Fel-pro gasket kit from RockAuto: ~$170 (and it includes head gaskets, exhaust manifold gaskets, intake manifold gaskets, valve stem seals, crossover gaskets, bunch of o-rings that are needed here and there, cam cover gaskets, and more I can't think of now). New fluid, hoses, miscellaneous parts ~$100 at max.

    Now, if your radiator is cracked due to any reason, this will run about $150-$200.

    You will need basic tools, P/S pump pulley removing/installing kit, heavy duty 3-jaw pulley puller for crank, Northstar water pump removing/installing socket, and etc...

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