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Discussion Starter #1
2003 Deville. Ive been working on this car for a relative for about 1.5 years now. It had 46k on it the first time I saw it, but basically from day 1 of ownership had nothing done to it except routine oil changes. No coolant flushes ever.

The first time it was in my possession was due to overheating and a clogged hollow bolt issue which I easily found and corrected. At the time I suggested a full cooling system flush and radiator hoses due to the age and lack of coolant system pm. After all was ok for a few months.

A few months later the water pump went out. So replaced it along with the WP drive belt and the thermostat and flushed the system again. After that no more problems until here just a few weeks ago.

Once again like the first time, it started running hot on them. But this time the temp gauge goes to max and message on the display system tells them that coolant is hot turn the AC off. At the same time they notice they are loosing coolant from somewhere. So I get it again.

This time I find 3 of the 4 crossover manifold gaskets to be leaking as well as hollow bolt again partially clogged. While the crossover is out of the way, go ahead and replace all the heater hoses due to age, flush the heater core and confirm good flow in both directions. Due to the continued clogging of the hollow bolt suggest that maybe it might be a good time to replache the radiator. (sure enough removal showed quite a bit of calcium buildup inside on the coils. 12 years of neglect can take its toll) Put all back together, confirmed good flow to the surge tank, and let it run in the shop for about 30 minutes. Got up to temp, fans cycled and all seemed ok. Test drive time, about 5 miles out starts to run hot again. Got it back to the house, put the laser pointer on both heads, the crossover and the TStat housing and don’t see more than about 216….hmmm is it really running hot. Coolant temp sensor maybe?

This morning I replace the sensor, go ahead and pull the Tstat and bench test it (all ok).Just for the heck of it flush surge tank/heater core piping again

Refill and run in shop for 30 minutes again. Test Surge tank flow. Up to temp, fans cycle so I take for a road test again. And the same thing happens again. Back at the shop laser check it again, heads in the 240 range, crossover and Tstat area 216-220. I did notice this time that the surge tank was full but not venting.

Ive read lots about these northstars and their pesky overheating problems, but I’m at a loss and grasping at straws here now. Can head gaskets going on these engines cause what I am seeing? I’ve done hundreds of HG’s in my day, and yes seen them lose coolant and steam out the back, but never seen an engine overheat AND also still be full of good flowing coolant.

I guess IF headgaskets might be the issue, as many times as this one has overheated, new heads would definitely also be needed?
Any ideas or suggestions greatly appreciated.
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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Sounds like a case of out of sight, out of mind neglect. Time to pay the piper.

FYI 216 is the high end of the normal range.

Head Replacement is almost unheard of.

If you suspect a HG, do a block test after the next overheat episode.
 

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1998 Seville STS, 2003 Deville
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I did notice this time that the surge tank was full but not venting.
The surge tank should never be full. At most maybe 1" above the cold full mark on the tank at operating temp. If it started out cold 1/2 full like it should be then the cooling system is getting over pressurized, most likely by a bad HG.

Can head gaskets going on these engines cause what I am seeing?
Yes they can. It's time to do a block test to check for exhaust gasses in the expansion tank. Do the test immediately after it overheats.

I guess IF headgaskets might be the issue, as many times as this one has overheated, new heads would definitely also be needed?
It's very rare that the heads will warp or crack. Have them checked with a master straight edge but I doubt they would need replacing. They can be resurfaced a little but only a few thousandths can come off.
 

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2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
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These engines were designed to run, alternating 4 cylinders at a time, for 50 miles without coolant. A few minor overheats won't hurt anything.
 

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2003 Deville
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Discussion Starter #5
Guys, thanks for the feedback.

Ranger, you hit the nail on the head. 80 somehing year old lady did not have anyone around anymore to tell her that it needed it. As she is a close relative just trying to help her as much as I can rather than here having to take is to the stealer. she really wants to keep the car as her husband had bought it for her just prior to passing. So far Ive been able to, but if its HG's probably not.

Good to hear from all of ya'll that the heads should be ok. Most of my work in life has been on smaller 4 cyls and very old v8's where alot of times overheating can be quite damaging and very risky to re-use heads without machine shop intervention. Nowadays if your going to take something to a machine shop, you might as well just buy reworked heads and be done with it. I was aware that the northstar did have features that were supposed to minimize any such damage.

Samert,
Yes the surge tank starts out at 1/2, as long as I run it in the shop at bascially idle it never changes its volume. The two times Ive taken it down the road and the temp goes up, I Pull it over and the tank is full but not spewing anything out the overflow. ONce cooled down back at 1/2. NO leaks anymore since i fixed the crossover gaskets, but cant get it to quit overheating.

I'll probably atleast try to do the block gasses test just to confirm IF I can find that kit at the local parts house for rent. Either way, I am not equipped in my shop to drop a v8 out of the bottom of a car for such a repair. I'm also reading that it is probably best to do timecerts or studs on these block holes? If I were retired and not working 60+ hours a week I would tackle it.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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You "rent" the cylinder block exhaust gas test kit from any parts store and pay for the test fluid. You test the air over the coolant in the surge tank - ANY coolant gets into the tester and you wash everything with fresh water and start again. Don't try to "make it better" with excessive bubbling - follow the instructions. If you want to see what a gas test failure looks like, use the tester to sniff tailpipe gas during idle.
 

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2003 Deville
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Discussion Starter #7
Submariner,
Thanks for the input. I just called both of my local parts houses and neither has the darn thing.

Just curious something else I just throught of.. Would too much flow going back to the Surge tank maybe cause a problem. The reason I ask is, this is the 2nd time the nipple on the crossover was encrusted up with calcium. (part of the reason I suggested a radiator changeout) In order to get it all out, and back to being a nice clean passage, I slowly drilled it out using various small increment bits until it got back to bare metal. The inside was not only encrusted but had started to get very heavy pitting in it. At best guess I am figuring that hole was originally 1/8" now its more like 5/32 or a hair larger. I know that passage is only supposed to be to keep air out of the system, and dont see as a slight reaming should have hurt it, but one just never knows.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Not a problem - that bolt/nipple is at a high point in the system and connects to a line that is about 1/4" - 3/8" I.D., so enlarging the nipple I.D. (which I doubt you did to any appreciable degree) would have little effect on actual coolant bleed - the surge tank rides on the system through a T in the 3/4" heater coolant return line - so there's plenty of return flow ability.

Here you go ............... http://www.sjdiscounttools.com/lis75500.html
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I didnt think it should be a problem, but figured I'd put the info out there as its easier for folks to give helpful info when fully informed.

Thanks on the link, got one other I'm gonna try, if not I'll buy that kit.
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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The reason I ask is, this is the 2nd time the nipple on the crossover was encrusted up with calcium.
Are you using distilled water in the cooling system? This is exactly why we always recommend it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Are you using distilled water in the cooling system? This is exactly why we always recommend it.
I do that on everything I own as well as any car I do cooling system work on.

But in the case of this vehicle, coolant system pm was neglected for 12 years before I first saw it.

As for the block testing kit? nobody in my town had it, so I ordered the suggested Lisle kit. Hopefully here by friday. Will post results.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Stud kit recommendations 2003 Deville

Well, it looks like I am very possibly about to tear down a 2003 deville motor and do head gaskets. To make sure it hopefully never happens again, I plan to go with a block stud approach for the fasteners. Ive used timecerts before, but lost my confindence in those.

For those that HAVE gone this route, can you make recommendations for what kit you used, and why you feel it was better or worse than others available. Many thanks for any and all input.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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I merged your essentially identical engine threads. You would probably be better off to go with the longest running most experienced company in the Northstar head stud/install kit business - www.northstarperformance.com.

In the engine repair business you get what you pay for. The original TimeSert (Time Fastener Company) has been replaced by their BigSert. More elegant is the NS300L by www.huhnsolutions.com.

If this thread remains about top overhaul on a Northstar engine it will all go to Engines; Northstar to reside along with all the other identical questions and advice. There you will find threads and pictures by several CF members who do the work as a job. There is so much info on your questions there that you can never read it all.
 

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1998 Seville STS, 2003 Deville
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Samert,
Yes the surge tank starts out at 1/2, as long as I run it in the shop at bascially idle it never changes its volume. The two times Ive taken it down the road and the temp goes up, I Pull it over and the tank is full but not spewing anything out the overflow. ONce cooled down back at 1/2. NO leaks anymore since i fixed the crossover gaskets, but cant get it to quit overheating.
Do you hear a gurgling sound in the dash, especially when starting out from a stop? If so that's a sign of air in the system and also an indicator of a HG issue. I could drive my 2001 Deville all day around town with the AC on but once I approached 55 MPH or was pulling a long hill that cause the RPM to go above 2500 then the temp would start rising. If I slowed down it would come back down but once it got above 3/4 on the gage it was too late, it had already started pushing the coolant out and would not recover unless I let it cool completely and added coolant.

Another indicator of HG problems is once it sits overnight and cooled down completely, if you remove the cap on the expansion tank and you hear a release of pressure then that's not good. Should not be any pressure in the tank once it's cooled completely.

Mine would also idle rough for just 15 or 20 seconds after starting once completely cooled down but then clear up and idle fine. This is caused by a just a tiny bit of coolant getting pushed back into the cylinder from the over pressurization of the cooling system and fouling out that one cylinder briefly.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Submariner,

Thanks for the merge. Been a very long day at work and meant to put it as a question here. I'm on many automotive forums and well versed in proper forum protocols did not mean to multi post. As for the engine forum, I guess I have overlooked that one and will spend some time there. This overall forum to me appeared to be more about questions as related to model as every time I did a search on questions, it brought me to the De/FWD section, never to an engine section.

Northstar performance, from what Ive researched seems to be the better kit, But I figure folks here that have done it before know best. Looks like both you and Moist cabbage agree on this topic.

Samert,
No gurgling sound, but your running and overheating symptom seems much like what I am seeing. Yes I have noticed that at cold there IS a tiny bit of pressure under the cap. The biggest odd IVe seen is the fact that the tank is completely full when the thing is in the hot zone, and to me that aint right.

no rough idle that Ive seen yet.
 

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The trick to searching for engine work advice is to leave any car model info out of the Google search parameters - as in "cadillac forums 2002 northstar head studs" instead of "cadillac forums 2002 deville head studs".

Not a big deal - everyone does it - just advising that there's a TON of info in Northstar, including several sticky threads on exactly your questions.
 

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Re: Stud kit recommendations 2003 Deville

Well, it looks like I am very possibly about to tear down a 2003 deville motor and do head gaskets.
What method are you planning for removing the engine? Drop the cradle or pull it out the top? Both have their pros and cons. I pulled mine out the top along with the transmission because I needed to replace the TCC solenoid in the transmission and knowing it was going to be a long process to complete the repairs I was able to roll the car out of the shop. You can read about my adventure at the following link.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-deville-1985-2005-including-1985/532305-engine-removal-out-top-2001-deville.html
 

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2003 Deville
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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Re: Stud kit recommendations 2003 Deville

SUB.
Thanks for the search tip....Ive been doing a bit or reading there since yesterday, no searches just looking at many of the threads....some great info.

Samert.
I just installed a 2 post lift in my shop as well as have a hydraulic table....more than likely out the bottom. I also found a great step by step writeup here laying out
the out the bottom approach. Doesnt look like its that incredibly hard that way .....what I dont have is a method of overhead extraction in my shop unless I Modify my lift to
do it. At first I was not going to offer to do this much work. But when I realized it could be taken out the bottom plus ive got a few weeks coming up with no extra hours at work, why not.
I dont normally do this magnitude of work for others, but as they are a relative and they despise the dealer, I figured Id help em out.

Ive decided on the Northstar performance kit, as it seems to get more recommendations than the others. Probably the Felpro gasket set.

I have read your thread....good info.
 

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Re: Stud kit recommendations 2003 Deville

Ive decided on the Northstar performance kit, as it seems to get more recommendations than the others.
I suggest you order the stud kit ASAP. Jake wears alot of hats there at NSP and sometimes it can take a week or so to get your order shipped and normal delivery from Canada takes about a week or so unless you pay for the expedited delivery.
 
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