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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
You're in Jersey, right? Where in Jersey?
If you decide to 'get rid' of the car, what would you accept?
Harry,

I tried to send you a message (start a conversation?). This message board is not like most of the others I use.

Anyway, if you want to discuss acquiring this Deville you can reach me at my screen name with verizon.net at the end.

I've decided I just don't have the resources to pursue this further. I made a list of things I know about this car and can provide a bunch of pictures.

I'm in northern NJ, Morristown area.

Roveer
 

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An associate gave me a 2002 Deville with 75k miles Northstar V8. The problem was overheating. It was producing some vapor out of the exhaust so I figured it was the notorious blown head gasket problem. I ran a can of Blue Devil through it and its still overheating. I replaced the thermostat, pulled the water pump cover and it appeared to be ok, flushed the cooling system. pulled the radiator to make sure it wasn't clogged.

I just did another block test. That's the blue stuff in the tube that you hold over the coolant reservoir. It stayed blue. There's no vapor coming from the exhaust, but yet the coolant reservoir still boils over after a few minutes (10-15) of idling time. I checked the return line stem to make sure it wasn't clogged. That's actually the line that's causing the reservoir to boil over.

Does anyone have any ideas before I dispose of this car. It's still got a lot of live in it, but not if it can run without overheating.

There are no coolant leaks anywhere including the water pump. I checked to make sure when I turned the pulley side that the fins turned and they did. Is there anything else about the water pump that could fail?

The larger hose coming from the pump across the radiator does get hot and when very hot seems to have some pressure on it.

It does have a PO410 (secondary air system) code. Any relation to this problem?

Any other diags or things I should be looking at? I hate to get rid of this car if there's something that I'm missing or could try. It's in remarkably good shape for it's 17 years.

Thanks,

Roveer
As a last resort before you throw in the towel pour a couple of vials of Powdered Aluminum (Autozone) and see if it plugs small leaks in head gasket.
 

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2001 was overheating
Solved it

Changed thermostat to a 165
Replaced reservoir with new
Added ac/delco tablets as instructions say in the manual and on engine fan shroud
Tablets must be crushed and added to rear hose connected under the reservoir.
Replaced purge line under engine cover ( metal) with high pressure hose with larger diameter
Replaced dexcool coolant with new
Make sure fans are turning on
Bleed the lines until the air is out

Good luck
 

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-Administrator- 2002.5 F55 STS 2014 FWD Explorer
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Bad advice.

The 165 'stat is exactly at the set coolant temp for loop emissions changeover for the 2000 - 2005 Northstar. Not good and had NO - NONE - effect on "overheating". Install the correct 'stat to allow the engine to run at the design correct temperature range of 188 - 215 degrees..

The supplement tablets were discontinued in 2006 by a GM TSB. The service manuals and radiator sight shield stickers were never updated. Continued use was found to clog small coolant passages - like the purge line and its hollow bolt/nipple.

Other stuff is normal Northstar maintenance. The purge line replacement is what "cured" your overheat situation in this case.

All these cars/engines use the same coolant temp sender. The tick marks on the large, smaller, and digital gauges correspond to these notations. That engine is SUPPOSED to run at 188 - 215. Less is too cold.

Temp gauge - my numbers.jpg
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
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too bad you didn't ask FIRST -

I agree with Sub - 100% -

use the CORRECT 195* thermostat -

GM discontinued the use to the tablets MANY years ago -
it CAUSES more problems by blocking up the PURGE LINE and heater core -

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WHEN you DON'T have much heat this winter -
you'll know why -
 

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Discussion Starter #29
When I accepted the car I figured I'd see if it was fixable. I then discovered that this particular engine is prone to these problems and is almost (on the open repair market), never worth the cost to fix. This was all new knowledge.

Still I thought I've been fixing things my entire life, including automobiles. But... There is a point at which the home mechanic is unable to perform certain tasks. Pulling the motor from the car. I don't have lifts, engine jacks, jack stands, high capacity dollies, air tools, torches, AC reclamation equipment. That's just to get the motor out. I don't have tools to hold the OHC's in place when removing the heads, pulley pullers and the other assorted tools to work on the actual engine. Equally as important, I don't have a shop. Can't see doing this in a 2 car garage.

Having watched dozens of videos over the past 2 weeks, the work is not rocket science. It just required a bunch of advanced tools/equipment AND (most importantly), knowledge of what you are doing, especially when it comes to this engine. While I'm sure I could do the work, I don't have a shop, I don't have the equipment and I don't have the knowledge. Keeping the timing in proper alignment itself requires a pretty good understanding of what you are doing, and I'm nowhere near that point.

I spoke with one of my mechanic's today and he just started nodding his head. Said what I've read over and over. The free car ends up being the most expensive one you'll ever own. He also said he's done the job (re-studding a northstar) and would never do it again. Then started mumbling something about each cylinder has it's own sleeve and mess that up and wreck the whole engine. I'll admit, I didn't see any of that during my research. What I did see, is the huge number of gaskets that would go into the car if I were to break it down. Besides head gaskets, there were literally a dozen or more for the block, timing cover and other covers. Looks like it would be $400 or more in just gaskets. Then there's timing tension guides, chains etc (which I'd think might not be too bad on a car with 75k miles, but if your there, shouldn't you do it so you'll never have to see it again). Then the $600+ cost of the stud system for NP. I'm sold that this is the best / longest lasting fix for this issue.

Of course, you never know what you'll find once you break it all down. One poster mentioned most of the water passages all clogged up. More importantly, what if you find a warped or cracked head or cylinder. Boom - $$$.

I really feel like 20 new heavy thread studs from Northstar Performance, and a bunch of new gaskets and this engine would run another 100k+ miles. Considering I have 3 more kids going through their teens I'm right on the edge of 3K is worth it. But, will it be 3k. Probably not.

I'm going to contact a guy in PA who's supposed to be a Caddy/Northstar expert and see what he has to say. I'm not looking for advice any more, you guys (especially you SUB), have shown me the light. I'm more interested in what they would charge.

It's funny, I look into the Deville engine compartment and then looking in my wife's Yukon and say "what were they thinking". Of course two totally different vehicle sizes but still. Let's make one entire side of the engine inaccessible. AND how many years of bad Northstar motors. I heard they really didn't get a handle on the head bolt thing until 2006. That's a lot of pissed off caddy owners.

Anyway, I'll keep posting up to when the thing leaves the driveway. Either to a mechanic or to donation or a buyer. It sure did ride nice. Guess that's a caddy thing.

Roveer
 

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-Administrator- 2002.5 F55 STS 2014 FWD Explorer
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Some good points and some not so good. Many shops, including Midwest Cadillac in Palatine, IL, will insert the block and do a long-life repair for about $2200 - $2700, depending on parts, and any overage on top of that is dependent on the age/maintenance/condition of the engine. Yes - lots of gaskets, just like my Olds 455s and Chevy 327s.

Yes, the NP SureGrip tud system is the most elegant, strong method. BUT an insert job using either the Time Fastener Co. BigSert or the Huhn Solutions kits is within a whisker of just as good. MANY Northstars running around with an insert job. With inserts you MUST use new head bolts; they're torque-to-yield, and so require new replacements every time.

2000+ heads are nearly bulletproof. Same with the 2000+ (roller) cams - not so with 1999 earlier flat tappet cams.

Anyway - as with any used car on the planet - if the car is "worth it" to you, fix it. If not, trash pile. Let's say $2800 to repair it. What other $2800 car would you replace it with ? BUT, at this age,it would not be a good daily driver for a school/college person.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
So I made a phone call today and Jim out in PA who worked for GM for 20 years before going out on his own. He has done 2k+ of these engines from all over the country. He spent a good 15 minutes telling me what they do which was basically inspect the car top to bottom for any other huge problems, read out the codes (which I have already done) and then go about the repair if everything looks good. He wants to use timeserts and has had very good success with them not having any fail over the years. He said the NP solution has some problems with drilling the holes too deep and then not having the threads catching where they should. He also doesn't like removing all that aluminum from the block. They regasket everything the touch with new GM parts and they also do the oil pan gasket because they are a known failure point. They check for cracks in the block to make sure there isn't a bigger problem.

They charge $2,450 for the job. Seems reasonable on a car I have 200 dollars into right now. Even if I only get a few years out of it, I don't think it's a terrible investment. As SUB mentioned, what else would I even consider at that price point. I have the ability to trailer it out to PA so my cost there is minimal. I'm seriously considering it at this point. After looking around at other vehicles at that price point or even double, I'm warming to the idea.

I'll update once I've made a decision.

Roveer
 

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If you do that job, the motor will outlast the car. I spoke to Jim when i needed mine done, if he could have promised me a faster turn around i would have gladly shipped the car to him to do the job, but i couldn't wait 3-4 weeks to get the car back. I ended up buying a rebuilt motor and had a local shop swap it in.
 

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2002 Deville
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When I took apart my Northstar the head gaskets were completely plugged at all the small holes beside the siamesed cylinder walls. This would create hot spots, making steam pockets, which makes those areas hotter.......
There was also a large amount of sealant accumulated in the bottom cooling jacket area making it impossible for water to carry heat away from the cylinders in those areas.
Also, there was one completely let go head bolt thread and 3 or 4 others not clamping properly. Gasket had deteriorated significantly as well, meaning that most of the gasket had broken away in the floating cylinder wall area. This makes cooling poor as well, since those covered areas are needed to direct flow all the way along the block, and not just short circuit back out right away, leaving the rear of the engine to get overheated.
When it finally failed big time, the fire ring itself let go and then coolant went ‘everywhere’, making huge clouds of smoke and very rough running. Of course I shut it down right away, at that point.

Point being, the sealant ‘fix’ is only a maker of more problems, not a fix, not even temporarily.

Also possible is the sealant ‘fix’ ‘fixed’ the heater core passages to the point of very little flow.

If you have 15 minutes before it boils over, there should be plenty of time to get a block test done.

Notwithstanding all the above, it appears to me that there is a failed gasket. Failed head bolt thread, actually. Failed gasket is symptom not cause.

Repairing the engine should be an option given the low miles and good condition of the car. (Mine is at 85K)
You need to consider what you could replace it with for the price, and then still not know what condition the engine/car is in. When you do the repair, you know exactly what condition its in, GOOD! Then you can enjoy the car for a long time.

There are various repair options, all well documented on here.

I used ‘Sure Grip’ studs from NORTHSTAR PERFORMANCE. Engine is now ‘bulletproof’.
Did you have to pull the engine to install the Sure Grip studs?
 

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Yes. Powertrain on the floor. No way the right (rear) cylinder head will drop over the installed studs - and even the machine and install work with the engine in the car is one unholy bitch of a job.

Jake or Evrett at NP might offer more advice.

Please update your profile, title, with the model level of your Deville - it makes a big difference in advice offered.
 

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So I made a phone call today and Jim out in PA who worked for GM for 20 years before going out on his own. He has done 2k+ of these engines from all over the country. He spent a good 15 minutes telling me what they do which was basically inspect the car top to bottom for any other huge problems, read out the codes (which I have already done) and then go about the repair if everything looks good. He wants to use timeserts and has had very good success with them not having any fail over the years. He said the NP solution has some problems with drilling the holes too deep and then not having the threads catching where they should. He also doesn't like removing all that aluminum from the block. They regasket everything the touch with new GM parts and they also do the oil pan gasket because they are a known failure point. They check for cracks in the block to make sure there isn't a bigger problem.

They charge $2,450 for the job. Seems reasonable on a car I have 200 dollars into right now. Even if I only get a few years out of it, I don't think it's a terrible investment. As SUB mentioned, what else would I even consider at that price point. I have the ability to trailer it out to PA so my cost there is minimal. I'm seriously considering it at this point. After looking around at other vehicles at that price point or even double, I'm warming to the idea.

I'll update once I've made a decision.

Roveer
Jim did my 2000 Deville two years ago. I know him well and we spoke often while he was doing my car. It runs perfect and he also fixed some other things that had to be taken care of while the car was there.
 

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Hi petechristoff.
Yes I took the engine out, but due to ‘things’ I was ‘forced’ to attempt the engine pull from the top instead of dropping the whole cradle.
I got it done; I’m quite persistent; but quite frustrating sometimes since many items are very hard to reach when doing it that way. Now, however, since I know what the problems are, I could probably do it much faster.
If I could have had my preference, I would have dropped the cradle. Maybe next time.... (on a different car, of course)
A shop, a lift, all needed tools, and experience means that all the aforementioned mechanics can do all this work for a really good price. There is no excuse for anyone to not at least CONSIDER doing the repair.
Save the Caddy! is the mantra....

Bjc789
 

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"Even if I only get a few years out of it, I don't think it's a terrible investment. As SUB mentioned, what else would I even consider at that price point....
I'm seriously considering it at this point. After looking around at other vehicles at that price point or even double, I'm warming to the idea."

I see no problem with that idea at all. My '04 has 183k on the clock, like new inside, 90% outside. Runs like a raped ape/27mpg hwy/18-20 town.

At 75k?, you should have 100K+ of 'relatively' routine maintenance to deal with.
At $2500 all in, it's a tough nut to do much better.
 

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I purchased a 2002 Eldorado ETC from a friend of mine who is very sick. This is my first (and last ) Cadillac. My Eldo has 41k miles on it. and after putting 6k into parts and fluids I finally have it road worthy. But after reading all the problems that Cadillac has, I have to wonder, why does an expensive luxury car(s) have so many problems?
I bought my Eldo because my friend needed help, I only drive it occasionally because I don't trust that something may go wrong miles from home. My opinion of Cadillac is not a good one, so I will keep my thoughts private, but I have to ask "why buy a Cadillac"...?
 

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too bad you didn't ask FIRST -

I agree with Sub - 100% -

use the CORRECT 195* thermostat -

GM discontinued the use to the tablets MANY years ago -
it CAUSES more problems by blocking up the PURGE LINE and heater core -

-----------------------

WHEN you DON'T have much heat this winter -
you'll know why -
Neither Caddy is driven in the winter. They stay in the garage a way from the snow and rain. 🙂
too bad you didn't ask FIRST -

I agree with Sub - 100% -

use the CORRECT 195* thermostat -

GM discontinued the use to the tablets MANY years ago -
it CAUSES more problems by blocking up the PURGE LINE and heater core -

-----------------------

WHEN you DON'T have much heat this winter -
you'll know why -

Both of my Cadillacs are never driven in the winter. Both stay in the garage, safe from the cold rain and snow. 🙂🙂🙂
 
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