2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Hi Fellow Cadders. I Am the proud original owner of the last Aztec Red ETC too walk off the line. ...
  1. #1
    Timedok is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    Hi Fellow Cadders. I Am the proud original owner of the last Aztec Red ETC too walk off the line. Ive owned several eldo's and this being the first Northstar version. Since I found out Ive had coolant blowing from the pipes I stopped driving it about a year ago. Occasionally starting it to clear out coolant from the head so it doesn't sit there. Since then I have been researching and researching and.......you get it.. Ive heard everything from miracles in a can (which of course I would never do..) to using all sorts of thread sets for the bolts/studs and finally come to the decision that I think www.NorthstarPerformance.com "SureGrip Cylinder Head Stud Kit" is the best way to go. One because it completely eliminates the whole threading procedure and will never have loose sleeves again causing repeat failures. I am comfortable doing the whole head gasket repair but a few question come up which I cant resolve by research and i also will probably have a thousand questions during this whole process. So that's why I am starting this thread. The problems that are coming up are right/rear bank(I know I have plenty of room to do the left/front bank easily without removal of the engine). Can you do the rear bank with the engine still in? Has anybody tried? . I have seen videos wear guys are doing it but never on a Eldo's. I know removing the strut mounts let the motor creep forward a little, but is it enough? I don't have access to a lift but do own a engine hoist and floor jacks/bottles...etc. Which has done many many automotive jobs faithfully. Now the other question is if I can get access with the engine shimmy'd forward just resting on the mounts. Could I also try to lower the engine cradle without full engine removal to see if I can get more clearance to the bank? The start of the adventure begins...Looking for input and advice..Tom

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    I think www.NorthstarPerformance.com "SureGrip Cylinder Head Stud Kit" is the best way to go. One because it completely eliminates the whole threading procedure
    Whoa, think again. You STILL have to drill and tap all 20 bolt holes.

  4. #3
    Timedok is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    The drilling and tapping is not the problem for me (Just a lot of time and Patience). its the clearance. I really don't want to remove the engine just for the rear bank.

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    JoeTahoe is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    the problem with useing the studs with the engine in the car is there will not be any room to get the head over the studs on any Northstar powered cady

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    Timedok is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    Thanks for the response Joe. now the question is without a lift can I drop the engine cradle enough via shims/jacks/tilting enough to clear the head over the studs without extensive component removal. (dam I wish someone would design a 2 shaft stud system for this problem for the rear bank)

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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    I don't think it can be done in the car. Using NS300L inserts CAN be done in the car, with some difficulty, but it is doable.

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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    To use Northstar Performance's studs, you have to remove the engine. Regardless of the car, it will have no room for the rear head, since it has to slide into the block after stud installation.

    Here's the conventional DIY way of removing the drivetrain (dropping the cradle), if you haven't seen it-

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    Timedok is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    Thanks Ranger and maeng9981. Wow food for thought..why couldn't it have been my 69 Eldo. it would have been a a breeze..lol.
    now Questions comes up whether i should use the inserts but isn't the clearance issue the same because you still have to put the bolts back in even with the head installed. wouldn't that be the same distances with sliding the head over the studs?

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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    Apparently not. Like I said, it has been done, though not usually recommended. You WILL have to lower the front of the cradle to rotate the engine forward and give you more clearance though.

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    JoeTahoe is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    you really need to drop or pull the engine to do a good job, there has been people who have done a wonderful job doing it in the car but they must have had alot of experience on a Northstar. I have done two with studs and if I do it again I will drop the cradle, But I have a lift. I still do not feel comfortable doing the headgaskets (with Norms) in the car or pulling the engine out the top.
    This is just my thoughts, Joe

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    Timedok is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    Well after much food poisoning induced thought. (been bed ridden since Friday from Chinese food) I think I am going to drop the engine. probably start next week sometime. Thanks guys for all the input and Ill keep you guys updated on progress or if I run into problems Ill post them. Here's a picture of my baby at A Cadillac-lasalle show. Attachment 88381

  13. #12
    Faded Crest's Avatar
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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    Well since misery loves company, perhaps you will find comfort in the fact that I have also just begun that job on my '98 ETC.

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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    Good luck on your engine repair. Let us know if you should face any problems or questions, and there will be so many people here that could help you.

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    vincentm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faded Crest View Post
    Well since misery loves company, perhaps you will find comfort in the fact that I have also just begun that job on my '98 ETC.
    Not misery, but oppurtunity

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    Faded Crest's Avatar
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    Re: 2002 Eldorado ETC Head Gasket Project

    Quote Originally Posted by vincentm View Post
    Not misery, but oppurtunity
    To be honest I have been looking forward to it. Almost seems like a rite of passage for a Cadillac owner these days. But to say I have been looking forward to it might seem a little sick to some people because I know that it is also pure misery to others. LOL

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