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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Hot Hot Hot !!!! in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Desperate for an answer. I have a Deville DHS year 2000 with 75,000 miles. The springtime brought a new problem ...
  1. #1
    MUGSANDLUKE's Avatar
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    Unhappy Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Desperate for an answer. I have a Deville DHS year 2000 with 75,000 miles. The springtime brought a new problem - the engine is overheating under any load at all. The temp guage jumps up in large increments while cruising at a steady pace for no reason at all. I found that with the A/C off the problem seems to dissappear and the temp guage stays dead center as it did when the car was first purchased. The dealer has changed the thermostat unit in its entirety, the water pump, the belt and has checked everything that can be checked. They say they now think the radiator may be clogged and they are going to change that too. I wonder if it might be an electrical screw up that is causing the problem. The fans come on at the right temp, the computer lets me know that it's running hot and shuts the A/C off when the temp rises. It then tells me to idle the engine since its too hot to run and the oil light comes on with a message to change the oil. The dash looks like a Christmas tree when all the lights and messages are on. I'm stuck!

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to where this problem is located? I cannot drive the car anywhere without the fear of overheating.

    Help Help Help Hot Hot Hot !!!!!!

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Have you checked for a plugged purge line?

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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Does it boil and spit out water? The gauging system may be lying to you.

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    EDBSO is offline Awaiting Email Confirmation
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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dkozloski View Post
    The gauging system may be lying to you.
    switch out the temperature sending unit.

    Do the fans turn on to high as it heats up over 226 or something like that?

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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    I love Christmas

    Sorry I just had to.
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    Future Plans: More interior work.


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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Thanks for the replys guys! The lines have been checked for plugs and are OK. The flow rate is very high and is operating as it should. There is a new water pump and new thermostat assembly. The coolant does boil out so the guage is not lying. The dealer says the temp went beyond 260 and the engine was running hot as the guage indicated. They will be installing the new radiator today. Any other suggestions would be appreciated but we have no other answers right now.

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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    PS - I love Christmas too but not while pulling over to the side of the highway with coolant running out and smoke billowing from the engine compartment. Hard to think of jolly old St Nick when you're thinking of jolly old tow truck driver.

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    dkozloski's Avatar
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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    If the radiator doesn't do the job the next step is a cylinder air pressure test for a blown head gasket. I just thought I'd make your day for you.

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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Swell! Thanks! I feel much better now! I'll keep you posted as it goes along. Fortunately I have the extended warranty in place. All it costs me is aggrivation and time. At least I have another vehicle to use. I have a 1998 Lincoln Navigator that I bought new in 98. It now has 289,000 miles on the original engine and tranny and it runs like new. I tow a 6,000 lb boat and trailer all summer each year as well. What have I done to deserve this Caddy headache? I hope it gets resolved because I love to drive this car.
    Frustrated!

  11. #10
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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Oh Well! The radiator change did not help. Still runs hot. On to the next step whatever that is. The guys are still working on what to do next. The saga continues!

  12. #11
    blb
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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by MUGSANDLUKE View Post
    What have I done to deserve this Caddy headache? I hope it gets resolved because I love to drive this car.
    Frustrated!
    Ah, welcome to the 'Northstar Headgasket Heartache', unfortunately very common on these engines. Figure on a $3000 to $4000 repair bill if the leakdown test confirms a failed headgasket, more if the dealer does the job.
    These cars are fun to drive, but can be a nightmare to own.

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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    The next step is a cylinder leak test with compressed air applied to the spark plug holes and look for air coming out the coolant cap.

  14. #13
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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by blb View Post
    Ah, welcome to the 'Northstar Headgasket Heartache', unfortunately very common on these engines. Figure on a $3000 to $4000 repair bill if the leakdown test confirms a failed headgasket, more if the dealer does the job.
    These cars are fun to drive, but can be a nightmare to own.
    Won't add much to the discussion, but I have to respectfully disagree with your use of the words "very common" in the above post. HG failures are not "common" on the Northstars, they're just well publicized here on the forum, and the Northstar is no different than any other all-aluminum engine when it comes to the probability of a failure of this particular weak link in the system.

    90+% of all failures can be traced to a lack of coolant maintenance which causes the corrosion that erodes the HG material. This is NOT to say that the occasional 'newer' car doesn't have a HG failure, but the statistics are straightforward. There are probably about 7-9 million Northstars still on the road in various cars from 1993 to 2007. Perhaps 2% have had HG failures. I was talking to a relatively high volume dealership about a month ago, and asked the service manager what he thought about it. He said he's seen about 10,000 Caddys go through his shop in the last decade or so, and less than 30 HG replacements, as far as he can remember. And most of them were on cars with over 100K on the clock.

    The big noise when a Northstar fails is due to 1) the high cost of the repair - partly because of high dealer rates, partly because of the complexity of the engine itself, and 2) Caddy owners will squawk at a HG failure more commonly than the typical car owner - and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    This, and any other online forum, can not be used as a gauge for determining failure rates of any particular system, simply because people who have had failures gravitate to these forums. I've stated it elsewhere, you can't judge the noise on here as indicative of the general population, any more than you can by going to a hospital and saying "jeeze, everyone in this town is ill..."

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    blb
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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by JimHare View Post
    ......the Northstar is no different than any other all-aluminum engine when it comes to the probability of a failure of this particular weak link in the system.
    Sorry, the above statement is just not true. Compare the GM Northstar to the GM LS1 / LS6, etc. where a headgasket failure is almost unheard of.

    The junkyards around here a great selection of nice looking Northstar equipped Caddys with bad headgaskets that people have junked because the cost to fix is more than the car is worth. One yard uses a '96 Deville without a trunk lid as a parts chaser because it can run awhile before it goes into limp home mode because of the lack of coolant. It has become the laughing stock of the yard. Ayone who thinks the Northstar headgasket issue is a rarity just needs to take a look in a junkyard or talk to a wholesaler and they will quickly discover why resale values are so low.

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    Re: Hot Hot Hot !!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by blb View Post
    Sorry, the above statement is just not true. Compare the GM Northstar to the GM LS1 / LS6, etc. where a headgasket failure is almost unheard of.
    Ok, but a different head bolt design, too. Perhaps lessons were learned from the early Northstar?

    The junkyards around here a great selection of nice looking Northstar equipped Caddys with bad headgaskets that people have junked because the cost to fix is more than the car is worth. One yard uses a '96 Deville without a trunk lid as a parts chaser because it can run awhile before it goes into limp home mode because of the lack of coolant. It has become the laughing stock of the yard. Ayone who thinks the Northstar headgasket issue is a rarity just needs to take a look in a junkyard or talk to a wholesaler and they will quickly discover why resale values are so low.
    I still maintain that for every Northstar in a junkyard due to HG failure there are a hundred of the same vintage on the road. Hell, around here, you can't trip without falling over a 90's Deville, Seville or Eldorado. I was talking to a guy the other day with a 94 Eldo, he showed 215K on the clock and said the car still ran like snot...

    Anecdotal evidence just isn't conclusive - you need to look at the total numbers.

    And re your 96 Deville parts chaser - it may be the laughing stock of the yard, but they aren't using an LS1 engine, are they???

    Perhaps we can just agree to disagree - it's more a matter of semantics anyway.

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