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Discussion Starter #1
1999 STS with probable head gasket issue –

I am looking for some feedback from members of this forum –

I have a 1999 Seville STS I purchased in 2000 with about 25,000 miles. I have the car for 15 years and it now has 62,000 miles. The car has always been garaged and is only used 4 miles a day to take me to the train station.

In January I started having issues with significant white exhaust, loss of antifreeze (not leaking) and noticed bubbling in the antifreeze reservoir. I had my mechanic take a brief look and he said the head gasket is compromised. He did not perform a test to detect exhaust gas in the coolant system.

After an incredibly cold day and ice storm in February the car started, I drove it home parked it in the garage. It has not started since. Not sure it the starter is not working or the engine is frozen as I cannot get it to crank / turn-over. Now that the weather is better I will be taking a look this weekend.

Assuming the head gasket is leaking I am requesting some feedback:
• Do I have the head gasket repaired? Cadillac said it would be $4,500+. Is anyone aware of a reputable shop on Long Island, NY for a Northstar head gasket replacement?
• Is a rebuilt / replacement engine a reasonable cost option? Anyone have experience with this?
• Are there shops/mechanics that want cars in this condition so that they can repair and resell?

The car is in outstanding condition. Never been in an accident is professionally detailed each year. It would be unconscionable to have it towed to a junk yard. Spending $4,000 on a 16 year old car may not be a wise move but I do not want the car scrapped.

Thank you -
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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Re: 1999 STS with probable head gasket issue –

You have all the symptoms of a failed HG and the '99 is the most failure prone.

Coolant may have leaked into a cylinder and hydrolocked the motor. That could explain why it won't crank. Pull the plugs and crank it over once by hand (wrench on the crankshaft bolt).

That is a dealer price. You should be able to have it done for $2000 - $3000. Just be sure whoever does it has done several before. All 20 head bolt holes need to be drilled, retapped and inserted or studded (NO HELICOILS). Also see the "Root Cause" Sticky in the Northstar forum.

Replacing the engine is a crap shoot (unless it has already been inserted or studded).

There are people who will buy and repair them, but you won't get much for a '99 with a bad HG.
 

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'02 ETC 34,000 miles 2002 F55 STS 83,000 miles, 2016 Challenger SRT 392, 6 Sp.
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Re: 1999 STS with probable head gasket issue –

That car is too clean and too low mileage to do anything but repair it. What you have to do is consider your alternatives. Let's say it costs you $3,000.
Let's also assume you could get maybe $1,500 for it as is. So, could you buy anything even close to your car (fully repaired) for $4,500?
...Not Likely. Plus, if you have it repaired correctly, it will basically be bulletproof and will likely last a long, long time.

Like Ranger said, make sure whoever does it has done plenty of them.

Northstar Performance and Midwest Cadillac Repair are probably the two best known for this repair on Northstars.
I think NP has a shop in Ontario. Midwest Cadillac Repair is in Chicago.
You'd have to get the car there, but probably worth the expense to know that the job is done right.

Do some homework and you may find someone close to you that has done quite a few.

You might check with Northstar Performance. Jake has an "approved repair shop" list.
I also recommend you use his SureGrip stud kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: 1999 STS with probable head gasket issue –

Ranger,
Thanks for your response - I just had a couple quick questions:
1. When you crank the engine with a wrench is it clockwise or counterclockwise? (If I recall correctly standing on the passenger side of the car facing the engine it is clockwise)
2. The space is very tight to turn the crankshaft - is it easier from the top or underneath?
I plan on pulling the plugs this Saturday and seeing if this will work.
Thank you -
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Re: 1999 STS with probable head gasket issue –

The engine turns clockwise from the front (crankshaft pulley) end. Remove the wheel and any interfering inner fenderwell liner.

The car is well worth having the engine overhauled. Reman and used engines are a real crapshoot - no guarantees of success.

Would you believe me if I said that the engine would get LESS wear and abuse in a NY - Miami highway run than in two weeks of your described short-hop driving ?
 
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