Cadillac Owners Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My parents are looking at buying a 1999 ElDorado w/ 36k miles. It's the standard (non-touring) edition.
  • Are there any common "issues" they should know about before making their decision? Or anything we should watch out for?
  • Likewise, are there any online resources any of you recommend looking at to find TSB, recall, etc on it?
I'm an owner of a 2006 CTS w/ Sport and Luxury packages and I love it. I've been a viewer of the CTS forum ever since.

My mom's really into Cadillacs and I think my purchase re-awakened her desire.

Obviously we're going to have a mechanic take a look at it before we proceed. But I was wondering if any of you kind folk from this side of the forums have any tips.
 

·
Registered
1996 STS (181,000) Arnott Struts, 245/45/ZR18, 1" Drop -SOLD
Joined
·
1,589 Posts
Be sure to run the codes.
Press and hold "OFF" and the Passenger Temp "^" up arrow until the codes popup in the DIC.
To answer 'Yes' to any questions (such as "PCM?"), press the Fan "^" up button.

Current means the code is current, whereas History means it's history and usually not active. I recommend you pull codes after a nice drive and WOT. Use the A/C and all the other features too.

Be sure to rev it nicely with the A/C off. Give it WOT.
Make sure you have maintenance records (w/ coolant changes as well as oil) and a CarFax or something like it.

I am sure others will pitch in and let you know of any common bugs.
Good luck w the decision process. :)

PS - When pulling the codes, after your drive, shut the engine off, start it again, ten pull codes. Turn off when finished. Report back with codes. There's a site to redeem them, but I forgot the URL.
 

·
Registered
01 Eldo ETC, 02 Deville SOLD!
Joined
·
1,815 Posts
That could be a heck of a car, depending on price and condition. At 8 years and only 36K miles, that's only about 4K miles per year, which may mean it was a "sunday go to meetin' " car, babied around town. In which case, it will probably need a half dozen good WOTS to clear things up in it. It probably should have had two coolant changes by now, or I'd be suspicious - with a car that low milage, it may not ever have been driven hard enough to keep the N* in good shape, and may be a little sluggish..

If the coolant has been changed, and a quick cylinder pressure test shows no problems, and there are no other glaring mechanical or visual problems, good luck with it!
 

·
Registered
Sedan de Ville, CTS
Joined
·
4,764 Posts
Be very careful with the Northstars prior to about 2000. IF CAR DOES OVERHEAT, you will need new engine.

Problem with those engines prior to about 2000 is that if they do overheat, they will not only blow head gaskets, but they will pull the bolts up through the block, stripping the block.

There is a digital tool for $1500 to assist in re-threading the block, but no one will lend it to you for fear of losing or damaging expansive tool. Dealer has this tool.

My recommendation is:

Take a good loooong look under hood. Any indications of radiator being pulled recently, or thermost being changed recently? Remove plastic cover over radiator. It is held in place by about 3 or 4 plastic pins.

Ask former owner what kinds of things they recently did with car. Ask if they every replaced radiator or water pump, etc.

If they admit to repairs like this, stay away.

Look for traces of water in oil. Look in cooling tank (when cool) for radiator sealer.

Drive car for over an hour. Take it on a 70 mile trip. Watch the temp gauge.

As someone else stated, pull codes.

YOU MUST DRIVE THIS CAR FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR AT HIGH SPEEDS to see if temp gets up there and to check for blown head gaskets.

They are pretty cars, but....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the hints. I didn't know about the overheating issue.

Question:
What is a WOT ?

Thanks,
Chris
 

·
Registered
2000 Eldorado ESC
Joined
·
1,362 Posts
Be very careful with the Northstars prior to about 2000. IF CAR DOES OVERHEAT, you will need new engine.

Problem with those engines prior to about 2000 is that if they do overheat, they will not only blow head gaskets, but they will pull the bolts up through the block, stripping the block.

There is a digital tool for $1500 to assist in re-threading the block, but no one will lend it to you for fear of losing or damaging expansive tool. Dealer has this tool.

My recommendation is:

Take a good loooong look under hood. Any indications of radiator being pulled recently, or thermost being changed recently? Remove plastic cover over radiator. It is held in place by about 3 or 4 plastic pins.

Ask former owner what kinds of things they recently did with car. Ask if they every replaced radiator or water pump, etc.

If they admit to repairs like this, stay away.

Look for traces of water in oil. Look in cooling tank (when cool) for radiator sealer.

Drive car for over an hour. Take it on a 70 mile trip. Watch the temp gauge.

As someone else stated, pull codes.

YOU MUST DRIVE THIS CAR FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR AT HIGH SPEEDS to see if temp gets up there and to check for blown head gaskets.

They are pretty cars, but....
Most everything this guy just said is.............

:bs: :bsflag: :xbs: :anibs:

Keep in mind he's been on the forum for 4 months and is not an expert. Just have the car checked out by a good mechanic and road test it thoroughly.
 

·
Super Moderator
White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
Joined
·
86,975 Posts
WOT = Wide Open Throttle

Read the Technical Archives at the top left of this page for more info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
If the coolant has been changed, and a quick cylinder pressure test shows no problems, and there are no other glaring mechanical or visual problems, good luck with it!

JimHare,
Do you mean just the coolant fluid? Or the radiator?

I ask because another poster mentions that pre-2000 NorthStars had coolant problems and would often need the coolant system replaced, though another poster says that's probably not true.
 

·
Registered
99 Seville STS, 08 STS4 N* 1SG F55
Joined
·
3,516 Posts
At the risk of being flagged as another 4 month newbie: there is not specifically a problem with the cooling systems on these cars. If the coolant has not been maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications it can increase the chance of headgasket failure, particularly in pre-2000 Northstars as GM made numerous design improvements from 2000-on. Overheating can be a symptom of headgasket failure and the usual first reaction of owners and independent mechanics who are not familiar with this issue is not to evaluate the headgaskets but to change things like the thermostat, water pump or radiator. I believe the point being made here is that if any of those things have been done recently you should specifically check for possible headgasket problems through either a coolant exhaust gas test (looks for hydrocarbons in the coolant) or a cylinder leak down test (long duration compression test). Cooling system repairs can be a misdiagnosis of headgasket issues, they can also be legitimate fixes. My 99 STS needed a water pump at 87,000 miles because the water pump was shot, I saw the old one and found the leak. These engines also use oil by design which is NOT a problem unless consumption is excessive; my 99 uses between 1/2 and 1 quart per 1000 miles.
 

·
Registered
2000 Eldorado ESC
Joined
·
1,362 Posts
I'm not flagging newbie's, look back into my over 900 posts. But ridicules statements like this.........

Originally Posted by z06bigbird
Be very careful with the Northstars prior to about 2000. IF CAR DOES OVERHEAT, you will need new engine.



Just because an engine overheats doesn't mean you need a new one.

There is a digital tool for $1500 to assist in re-threading the block, but no one will lend it to you for fear of losing or damaging expansive tool. Dealer has this tool

Timesert kit is around $400, is availible from any parts store or online, is not digital. It's a drill bit, tap and thread inserts.
Members on this forum have and use this tool, not only dealer's.


Ask former owner what kinds of things they recently did with car. Ask if they every replaced radiator or water pump, etc.
If they admit to repairs like this, stay away
.


More BS, radiator side tanks (plastic) crack all the time, water pump seals leak, doesn't mean the engine's bad.


 

·
Registered
1992 Town Car Cartier & 2014 Accord LX MTX
Joined
·
34,087 Posts
haha, that's funny.
 

·
Registered
01 Eldo ETC, 02 Deville SOLD!
Joined
·
1,815 Posts
JimHare,
Do you mean just the coolant fluid? Or the radiator?

I ask because another poster mentions that pre-2000 NorthStars had coolant problems and would often need the coolant system replaced, though another poster says that's probably not true.
I mean the coolant itself. The DexCool installed at the Factory is, I believe, a 5 year/100,000 coolant. Obviously, the 5 year period has expired well before the 100K mile period. So the fluid SHOULD have been changed around 2004.

Not debating the merits of Dex vs other stuff, many of us here feel strongly that changing out the coolant every two or three years, to GUARANTEE that the anti-corrosion qualities are maintained, is very inexpensive "almost-insurance".

I've seen conflicting tales of how the dreaded, somewhat unpredictable, but NOT EARTH-SHATTERING head gasket failure happens.

One camp believes in this: when the anti-corrosion elements in the coolant become depleted, frequent thermal changes in the aluminum engine allow now-caustic coolant to degrade the head gasket material. This causes coolant to be able to leak down in to the threads of the head bolts, which causes further corrosion until one or more bolts pull loose due to the weakened aluminum.

The other camp believes this: Every now and then, a "bad casting" happens - either the heads are not milled smooth, and the gasket gets eaten away by metal grinding back and forth as it expands and cools, or the actual aluminum threading in the block fails. This is more of a "metal fatigue" kind of failure, and can happen even with the most meticulous maintenance.

In 2000+ vehicles, the bolt holes were made longer, and I think the thread pitch itself was changed, making the latter scenario much less likely.

Whether or not the radiator itself, the water pump, or other components were ever replaced is besides the point when examining the risk of HG failure. Overheating by and of itself should not cause a HG failure - although it could cause other problems.

The best thing to do is an exhaustive (no pun intended) test for exhaust gases in the coolant, or a lack of pressure in the cylinders.

WP gaskets are known to be mangled by incorrect assembly, causing a WP leak under pressure which can then lead to other bad things. Look for a whitish residue around the water pump.

Also, it bears repeating that you should not be excessively concerned about HG failures if everything else checks out. Despite the clamorings of many on this board, there are literally millions of Northstars on the road with many hundreds of thousands of miles that are still going strong. People WITH problems tend to search out boards like this, so the skewing of data is far beyond normal statistical averages.

I've said it before, if you're in a hospital, it would not necessarily be statistically accurate to think, "Jeeze, everybody in this town is sick..." - the sick people go there. The well ones don't. Get it?

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
My beautiful pristine 1999 red Eldo has a blown head gasket. Estimated cost so far is $3500.00. I think I am going to shoot it and carry it to the junk yard. I thought WOT was “waste of time”
 

·
Registered
1994 sts
Joined
·
809 Posts
with 36k miles, I sure would hope the head gaskets are still ok, I'm at 154k with original h/g's (knock on wood). I would love if my car had 36k miles! Good luck if you purchase the car, they sure are beautiful. Don't listen to people who call the northstars junk because of the head gaskets. Many other cars need the same amount of repair costs due to timing belts and if you're lucky your ford truck will shoot the spark plugs out of the heads, or start on fire. All vehicles have their own seperate down falls. The northstars is the head gaskets but it's a one time fix if you do it right and you have a bullet proof 300hp V8!
 

·
Registered
See my sig...
Joined
·
8,096 Posts
Who even digs up a 2 year old thread to post on anyway....ARGGH!
 

·
Registered
04 Deville, 11 DTS Premium, 00 Deville (sold), 02 Deville (sold)
Joined
·
2,686 Posts
Heh. 2 people fooled by a 2 year old thread. :)

I noticed that also... figured I would sit back and see how long this would go on before someone noticed. I guess I just have a sick since of humor.:bouncy:
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top