My experience with the water crossover job
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, My experience with the water crossover job in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Big thanks to all those who posted their how-tos and experiences with this job. It's been a royal pain, and ...
  1. #1
    venom242 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    My experience with the water crossover job

    Big thanks to all those who posted their how-tos and experiences with this job. It's been a royal pain, and I'm still not finished after three hard days of knuckle busting and swearing. Just thought I'd throw in my two cents, in hopes that my experiences may help someone else in their search. My car is a 1997 ETC.

    Before I get into it, I busted the EGR flex tube in the back. Is it possible to install a new one without pulling everything apart? Please say yes, and let me know how you did it! I about lost my mind when I saw the gaping crack down low...

    -It is well known that the two lower rear crossover bolts are tough. A 13mm ratcheting flex head wrench is ideal for getting at them. Harbor Freight really came through (~$26 for the set) when I could not find a solitary Craftsman in that size. Patience is key when attacking these bolts.

    -Removing the trans shift linkage is also key. Remove the bracket holding the shift cable, and pop off the cable end (it's a ball and socket joint). Remove the 15mm (IIRC) cap nut holding down the linkage arm, and pull it off. It takes a little effort to wiggle off. After that, take off the two 13mm bolts that hold down the gear position sensor (the black plastic unit) and wiggle the whole thing off. You're still left with the bracket all that attaches to, two more 13mm bolts. You can see one from the get-go, there is a second underneath the sensor. You're left with a threaded shaft that you can use to hold the wiring harness back and out of the way. Put the cap nut back on the shaft: the shaft is sharp and your arm WILL be in there. You won't cut yourself on the cap nut.

    -The lower front bolts were tough too. I used a 13mm socket on a universal joint plus extension for the rear, and a straight extension bar for the front. Clever manipulation of the harness is helpful.

    -One thing I haven't read much about so far: cleaning up the threads in the block. There are a few bolts that do not just go into regular old holes; some bolts actually go through and touch coolant. They are generally on the lower holes. Some bolts may come out with muck on the threads, rust or leak sealer. I took a wire brush to all the bolts, and fashioned a thread chaser from an old spare bolt of matching thread count (Dremeled two V-notches into a bolt, then ran it in and back out - it picked up all kinds of trash). Made for smooth turning after that. The bolts all got a little bit of thread sealant before installation.

    -Make sure you clean up all the mating surfaces where gaskets touch. Wire brush, then brake cleaner on a rag.

    -The Victor Reinz gasket set was a good deal from Rock Auto - around $30 for all the crossover gaskets plus some for the throttle body. I bought an additional throttle body spacer to intake gasket (has a triangular profile, not round like an o-ring) and new EGR gasket from the local auto parts store for cheap.

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  3. #2
    satlite440 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: My experience with the water crossover job

    3 days. thats only a 4 hr job pffpffttttt and still you people have no respect for a dealer tec..

  4. #3
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, stick on fender vents
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    Re: My experience with the water crossover job

    Not so - there are/were several GM and Cadillac Techs who post in various CF forums from time to time. They earned praise and thanks for their input ............ but they usually give helpful advice to the DIY Cadillac owner, not a backhanded slap.

    Your dealership, if in a metro area, probably charges $90 - $120 an hour for labor. Yes, the book rate for the water crossover is just over 4 hours in a GM shop with necessary tools and retail GM parts. Maybe the OP couldn't swing $400+ for labor alone and wanted to learn and work on his own car. Is there a problem with that ?

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    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Took me ~6 hours, I removed EVERYTHING on and around the crossover for extra room.

    Out of curiosity, I got a quote from a local dealer, over $1,000. I've read other members getting quoted similar prices. I guess some dealers are taking (or at least charging for) well over 4 hours for the job.

    ----------

    At least we don't have to remove the crossover to change the WP like with the '06+ Northstars...

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    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    How does job cost 1000 and only have 400 labor? Gaskets are $40?

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    1BadCadSTS's Avatar
    1BadCadSTS is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    5 hours is my record on a 04 DTS with front and rear air

    Pre 99 n*s are harder IMHO. Less wiggle room for the the harness.

    Not impossible.

    Use thread and a skim coat of rtv to hold the gaskets in place during reinstall. 3 or 4 bolts will NOT come out separate from the crossover due to room constraints. Do not forget to have them in when reinstalling. Also clean all threads with brake clean and air. Makes it much easier to start and thread the bolts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stoveguyy
    How does job cost 1000 and only have 400 labor? Gaskets are $40?
    You're a fool if you have an 00+ and don't replace the intake plenum and manifold gaskets, water pump and bowling pin gasket, and thermostat as well the "green" heater hoses should also be changed at this point. While more than $40 it's still not 600 in parts.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
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    Re: My experience with the water crossover job

    If they also quoted the water pump housing ("water crossover") as a replacement part, the retail on that is (was) $478.

    Standard book labor is 4.3 hours, so that ^^^ comes awful close to $1,000 all told.

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    1BadCadSTS's Avatar
    1BadCadSTS is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Quote Originally Posted by Submariner409
    If they also quoted the water pump housing ("water crossover") as a replacement part, the retail on that is (was) $478.

    Standard book labor is 4.3 hours, so that ^^^ comes awful close to $1,000 all told.
    Never seen any issues reusing the housing. I've done 7 of them. Only issue would be if it cracked somehow.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, stick on fender vents
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    Re: My experience with the water crossover job

    Quote Originally Posted by 1BadCadSTS View Post
    Never seen any issues reusing the housing. I've done 7 of them. Only issue would be if it cracked somehow.
    Yeah, that ^^^^ We're tossing about just how a dealer could quote $1,000 for the job - it would take a bunch of parts padded into the bill to get there........... and your "While you're at it" parts replacement post would just about get there, too.

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    1BadCadSTS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Submariner409

    Yeah, that ^^^^ We're tossing about just how a dealer could quote $1,000 for the job - it would take a bunch of parts padded into the bill to get there........... and your "While you're at it" parts replacement post would just about get there, too.
    I like going in and doing the job once. I don't like people coming back or issues that could of taken 5 minutes extra to address before hand haha. Preventive maintenance saves issues haha.

  12. #11
    venom242 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: My experience with the water crossover job

    Quote Originally Posted by satlite440 View Post
    3 days. thats only a 4 hr job pffpffttttt and still you people have no respect for a dealer tec..
    Well it wouldn't have taken so long if I didn't have to hunt down extra parts or tools like the flex head ratcheting wrench. If I worked in a dealership, I'd have all that stuff within an arm's reach. Like many here, I wanted to do it myself, never done it before. If I had money to burn, sure I'd pay some cynical tech to do it, but I do not have that luxury.

  13. #12
    04GrandAmGT's Avatar
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    Re: My experience with the water crossover job

    My DTS is sitting on storage insurance right now due to the idiot that owned it before me, looks like they redid the crossover seals but they didnt get new seals they just used silicone... some people should never work on vehicles, those gaskets are like $10 on Rock auto... UGH Leaks like a 20 year old faucet


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    eldoedwardo is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: My experience with the water crossover job

    Hello everyone, Venom242, I understand what you are saying. I too like to work on my own cars, always have and will till I can't hold a wrench any longer,. Even if I had a trunk full of money, because some people that work on
    cars for a living will take that 4 hour job and do it real quick to make premium dollars. Hold up now not everyone...
    others rely on reputation and quality. Oh believe me, do I KNOW.
    With that said don't let yourself be second guessing, The folks on this sight are very willing and quite capable of
    assisting us. THANKS Everyone! Now I would like to pass on a widely known fact: don't ever mention a certain
    parts house...ahem AZ, or the possible use of ah-coo snakeoils. I don't have to mention names and by the way
    guys thanks
    By the way venom ,I did the suspension,(struts,lower control arm, sway bar links(4)rear airshocks.. brakes totally
    (4) drivetrain(trans seals to hubs) and a few others things e.g. broken bolts ,striped aluminum threads and it took
    me ALL of 4th of July weekend! Was I tired? you bet! Did I save a couple of grand? you damn straight...would I feel as good, and have the same quality, with 2k+ less? not a chance.....
    Good luck with all your repairs...Ed

  15. #14
    venom242 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: My experience with the water crossover job

    Thanks Ed, that's really what it's all about. Even with all the frustration we go through, we have that sense of pride when it's all done.

    Just wanted to share what my gaskets looked like:
    crossover gaskets.jpg

    They sure do look terrible. There were numerous breaks in the plastic surrounding the rubber. There were gaps in the rubber as well. The sealant material seemed to do a pretty good job of clogging up the leak points. Most of the problem was a leaky green silicone hose, and of course it was the one behind everything. Since I had to buy a foot of it, I replaced both shorty hoses and the longer one nearest the thermostat with the green stuff. Should be good for the next ten years.

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