Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, 98 Eldo N* Cooling Issues..Now This? in Cadillac Engine Discussion; I have owned my Caddie since December. In the five months since I have had way too much trouble w/this ...
I have owned my Caddie since December. In the five months since I have had way too much trouble w/this car. As some of you might have read the car had cooling issues from the start (cracked radiator tank). After replacing the radiator the failures keep stacking up. A month after replacing the radiator it began to overheat. That lead to waterpump replacement, w/p belt and tensioner replacement, a few days later I noticed steam from under the hood...upper radiator hose. After replacing that...two days later more steam...heater hose at the water pump cover. Three days later more steam...lower hose. And throughout most all of this the d&#n thing kept getting hot until I found out through the help of this forum about the infamous "hollow bolt". Clogged completely; surely the cause of all of frustration in the first place.
But it's the most recent repair of the lower hose failure that really has my hackles up. After I replaced the hose and refilled the system with coolant and BarsLeak...confident that there's nothing left in the cooling system to R&R...
I came out side the next day to drive it and the battery was dead. Completely flat. SO what's up with that? I disconnected both posts (they're still clean; I did this maintence already) and charged the battery for several hours. When re-attaching the cables the alarm went off and the fans came on. The fans? I used the remote to shut down the alarm but the fans kept running. I cycled the key in the ignition and the fans kept running. I started the car and let it come up to temp...the fans kept runinng. I shut off the engine and the fans stopped. Hasn't happend again in two days.
:rant: The fans are very quiet on this car unlike the Vette. When they come on in the Vette you KNOW it. So what happened here? Why did my battery drain completely? uzzled:
I love the car BUT it has required more wrenching than a Caddilac should. I bought the Vette to wrench on and the Caddy to drive but the roles are reveresed! The caddy was babied...issues! The Vette was "rode hard/put up wet"...very few issues!
Sooo.....the lesson here is to pound on the Northstar more...???...YES!!! LOL
Really, all the problems the first time were in diagnosing THE problem correctly. That is the intent of the forum and it worked. The system had one small problem and fixing it corrected the issue.
Not sure about the fan and alarm issue. That is definitely unusual. I have never personally seen it but I have heard people mention the possibility that the ignition switch can be worn or a link misadjusted so that you can turn the key to "off" and remove it yet the accessory link is still active....like the key cylinder did not turn it far enough before the key came out to really turn it all the way to off. You might check the key/ignition switch for that by just playing around with it and seeing if it could be left on by accident. That would kill the battery and might lead to some other issues at the next startup as things initialized from their previous state of being left on.
Besides, as soon as the N* quits pounding on me I'll quit pounding on it. The most unreliable American made engine I, personally, have ever owned. This ain't no SBC! This powerplant is ill suited to a luxury coupe/sedan...maybe shoulda been an option in the Corvette....JMHO
Yeah, I've read that there are a gazillion of'em out there running around trouble free...I doubt it...we just haven't heard from those folks yet.
A friend of mine liked my car so well he went out and bought one for himself. A 95 ETC with fewer miles than mine has. He loved it for all of about a week. Then the motor started clicking...a few miles later, tapping. He stopped to check the oil...what oil? There wasn't any left in it! The guy drives around with a gallon jug of oil in the trunk. Man, that ain't right any way you cut it. Especially from a Cadillac!
I know you don't like N* bashing...I don't much like being bashed by one. The dirt under my nails and every month I mail that check kinda earns me the right.
These are higher maint. cars. I had to get used to this, as well. I got mine at 68K and hers's what I've done.
1.) A/C comp. $1400. I didn't have the tools for DIY. (80K)
2.) Blower motor for cabin. $225. DIY. Otherwise about $1100 at dealership (85K)
3.) Seat heat out - I haven't bothered to repair. Est. $2400 w/ new seats or $700 to replace elements. (95K)
4.) 4 point wheel alignment, $100. (90K)
5.) Rear brakes, $35. But you'll have to rent a special tool to DIY. (100K) $400 at dealership.
6.) Water pump, $40. Again, you'll need a special tool to DIY. (112K) $500 at dealership.
7.) Hoses and seals at #6. $300 (112K) $700 at dealership.
8.) New tires. Figure $400/500. Normal stuff here...
9.) New battery, figure $120 - go with stock GM b/c others might not fit!
10.) Trans flush $150. (90K)
11.) Plugs and wires, $150. (113K) $500 at dealership.
Then there's the regular stuff like TB cleaning, oil changes (remember 8 qts.), tire rotation...
The expensive part is dealership costs when you've got runability problems. It'll set you back about $125 per episode on EACH item of concern. So, for example, I took my car in to check the seat heat, an AC problem, and an apparent battery condition. Before the car cooled off I was out $375. So, a little knowledge before you drive into your dealership to look at a "few" problems is money in the bank!
Really, the stuff I've done to my car is normal in most cars. The biggest difference is the complexity of these cars - it is becomming very difficult to be a DIY person. I know when my head gasket fails it will cost more to repair the car than its worth, so it goes to scrap because I just don't have the hoist and related tools to fix that problem.
In my case I wish I'd put the 14K into a mid 60's Caddy. I'd probably be money ahead and have a car I could fix.
It's not the maintenance I mind. I enjoy that sort of thing. I've been a gearhead all of my life. I think at middle age I've learned what's acceptable and what isn't with regard to vehicle maintenance. A $4000.00 headgasket repair is NOT acceptable. It would never cost me that much as I do all of my own vehicle maintence. And it looks to me like I can change the headgaskets from the top. Now if the right bank were tucked like the rear of the LS1 in my T/A that would be different but I'll bet I can still get that engine out through the top too. I digress...
We're talking about a vehicle marketed to the masses. GM knew it was mostly the "geriatric put the gas in and go" crowd that was going to buy these N* equipped vehicles. Wrong kinda powerplant for that demographic! I must point out that I love the car. It truly is my kinda car. Great looks and powerful. It shocked the wife that I came home with a Cadillac instead of another Vette. But ALL things considered the Vette would have been the better choice. The comfort is comparable now with only the ride quality being the difference. And I'm still not used to "floating/gliding smoothness". But I'm trying!
I've read a ton of posts by Bbob...the guy has knowledge; no doubt and I respect him for that. Just seems a little zealous to me. His explanations are legendary in their long windedness, his multiple replies to himself, are equally so. But to each, one can ask..."if so then why did it fail"? Consumer neglect just doesn't hold up. The engine isn't matching the longevity of the rest of the car.
The idea put forth that our cars have a life expectancy of five years and then they're worthless is absurd. If the car can be in great shape after five years...then why can't the engine. If GM believes this...if that's their marketing strategy...if GM cars only have value at purchase + five years...if $40,000 vehicles are disposable, then...
No wonder their stock is "junk".
All in all I'm thinking that a N* in a C4 Vette would be a blast. Another post for another day.
I used to half way enjoy wrenching my cars - when I could get to things and fix the problem. I'm used to the older cars, 60's and 70's stuff, so a lot of this is just me, whinning about "the good 'ol days."
The N* platform has logic to it - every Caddy gets the same power plant. I'm sure it is easier to build and install the same motor in every car... that being said, for guys like you and me, where we don't mind fixing problems, we have been lumped together with folks who never touch the hood release and just trade up every two years.
This car is a different animal compared to a 1967 Impala - better in some, not in others. A five year old '67 Impala got you a pretty good used car - and you could expect five more good years. The best years of my '96 DeVille were from 1996 to 2001 - then I bought the problems in 2001... my fault, totally!
I'd do things much differently at this date and hind site is 20/20. But I miss the days of a yearly tune up and knowing the car would serve me well until the next time - with my '96 I wait for the next breakdown, hoping that I can fix the problem in a reasonable way... w/o having to pull the cradle to get to the offending part.
I'm a fosil and I admit to that. I won't travel down the road of an overly used Caddy in the future. I'll buy at 20K and dump it before I have to put tires on it and start all over again. Unless I get my '66 DeVille, of course. I'll drive that 20 years, or until we run out of gas!
Sounds like we have a lot in common with regard to our cars. I'm from the same old school and like you I am completely at fault for buying this car. It's on me.
Specifically the egg of "old school" thinking...I still believed in the days of...
Buy a Chevy, trade up to a Pontiac, trade up to an Olds, a Buick and then a Caddy!
I didn't do the homework on this Eldorado...thought all I needed to know was that it's a Cadillac. Brother was I wrong?! Honestly I don't think I'll own another one. I agree you gotta buy'em early (20k on the clock) but I'm not a "drive it off the showroom floor" kinda guy. Haven't bought new, probably won't. But the new "Stealth Fighter Inspired" body styles just don't do it for me and the style that I like will have a motor with too many question marks.
Buick is the only badge left I haven't owned and unless a 86-87 GNX lands in my lap I probably never will.
For now I swear I smell coolant everytime I get out of it and have to look underneath to see if it's leaving a puddle....
Funny story...My mom's in the hospital and it's on the other side of town. I'm coming home from visiting her down the expressway yesterday when the radio goes quiet and BONGBONGBONG...you know that sound! The sound that wrenches your gut with a sphinchter factor of about 11! I look down at the temp guage...normal. Normal!? WTF? What now?
When the message across the DIC reads...Hey dummy! You left your "turn signal on"!
I did the entire cooling system awhile back - everything including the small 3/8" hosing between the overflow and air vent. With Bars leak, even though I fought that one, too! It's holding well as we speak - but my wife's out with the car now and it never breaks down when she's driving it... boy, I'd hear no end of that!!!
I do like the fact that this car has only broken down in my driveway... that's some mighty fine engineering my friend - this car is kinda like Christine and like yours I've chased problems from one point to the next only to find no real cause for the condition.
My battery went bad like yours, try a new one and see if that fixes the problem. Be sure to tighten those connections well, if they get loose very strange things start to go bad. You'll hear the effects of it as a ground problem in the speakers - a scratchy sound... again, like the Tell Tale Heart!
I'm coming home from visiting her down the expressway yesterday when the radio goes quiet and BONGBONGBONG...you know that sound! The sound that wrenches your gut with a sphinchter factor of about 11! I look down at the temp guage...normal. Normal!? WTF? What now?
When the message across the DIC reads...Hey dummy! You left your "turn signal on"!