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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
I have owned a half dozen caddys over the years and have no complaints. I am currently looking at a 97 deville with 120,000 miles on it. I have both good and bad reviews on the Northstar engine and the car in general. Would appreciate any feedback owners have to offer.

Thanks
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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I had no complaint's with my '97. Sold it to my neighbor 3 years ago with 107K.
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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You will generally find that '97 through '99 are the most controversial years for this car in everything from aesthetics to reliability. Bottom line with any Northstar car... Records, records, records. You need to verify that the coolant has been changed ON schedule (which would be every for years with Dexcool, every TWO years if it was converted to green coolant), verify that the transmission has been taken care of and make SURE the A/C and Heat work perfectly.

If you can't verify the maintenance history on the car it ISN'T WORTH the trouble. There are just too many areas on those prone to failure if maintenance is ignored.

When you take the car out for a test drive make sure you can get the engine GOOD and warm and put it under load (hills, WOT runs etc) and make sure the temp needle does not go past TDC nor are there any coolant odors or steam from the tailpipes (unless it's obviously cold outside, even then it should not billow and billow huge amounts). Northstar is a GOOD motor saddled with a lousy cooling system and weak headbolt design.

Run the A/C and heat all the way up and down the temp scale and blower from soft to hard. Make sure the trans shifts smoothly.

Outside of this use common used car sense. Good luck and use the search, alot of this has been answered before.
 

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1999 Cadillac DeVille
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go to napa and grab a BLOCK TESTER, preform the test when you get back from the test drive this will ensure the HG are still intact. The test kit will come with enough fluid to test probably 8 or 10 cars so you can use it on each car you look at.

If you do find a HG problem with a car try getting it for a good price then repair the car using Jake's stud kit then you know the car you have is gonna run for a long time and you will probably get away with spending less then you would have buying a DeVille with out a HG problem. The HG job really isnt that difficult just long and frustrating.
 

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99 DeVille (Grace Slick)
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I have had several Caddilac's to and my current 99 DeVille has been the best by far. Its extremely comfortable and the motor has given me the least problems. Any motor can go at anytime, it doesn't matter if its a 4.9 a 4.6 a 3.8 or whatever. Just make sure the car was taken care of, that's the most important thing.
 

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The HG job really isnt that difficult just long and frustrating.
I think that is stretching the truth just a bit, and it always fascinates me how experienced engine techs always assume everyone else is too. A novice DIY'er without the proper tools (engine hoist, etc) will NOT be able to do this job, and doing it IN the car always ends with someone uttering the words "never again".

It would be more appropriate to say that you can cheaply trailer the whole car up to Jake in Canada to have HIM do the HG job for 1300 bucks plus the cost of transport. However, that's still a massive headache and best avoided by performing the block test you mentioned above, THAT is excellent advice.

I WILL throw this in however... If you're lucky enough to find a car that has already HAD the heads done, THAT would be the BEST car to buy by far. Usually once this repair is properly completed it NEVER has to be done again. The problem is most people or dealerships won't reveal that information because they think that kind of repair history would deter a buyer. You have to suck that info out of them and this is why private sellers are the best.
 

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I think that is stretching the truth just a bit, and it always fascinates me how experienced engine techs always assume everyone else is too.
I am in no way an experienced engine tech, I am 17 years old for petes sake :histeric:, I have learned everything I know about cars through getting under the hood and taking things apart and putting them back together, I have ZERO formal training, and before my 99 DeVille I had never touched a northstar, I just got on the forums one day to ask a question about over heating, found out it was a HG then I went got under the hood and took something apart and put it back together.

There is more than enough information and great experienced engine techs on this board that I have learned a GREAT deal from and anybody else can as well and with the knowledge that they gain from this board they too can complete a HG job and get many more years of beautiful service out of these cars.
 

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I am in no way an experienced engine tech, I am 17 years old for petes sake :histeric:, I have learned everything I know about cars through getting under the hood and taking things apart and putting them back together, I have ZERO formal training, and before my 99 DeVille I had never touched a northstar, I just got on the forums one day to ask a question about over heating, found out it was a HG then I went got under the hood and took something apart and put it back together.

There is more than enough information and great experienced engine techs on this board that I have learned a GREAT deal from and anybody else can as well and with the knowledge that they gain from this board they too can complete a HG job and get many more years of beautiful service out of these cars.
You're still assuming that people have the same level of technical proficiency as you do and many do not have the time, or simply don't care to make such an extensive repair. There is a REASON that this "easy repair" has 18 book hours of labor.

Yes, there's plenty of great info here, but we've also had PLENTY of shade-tree mechanics who can do a headgasket job with their eyes closed on a SBC etc. pull their hair out doing a N*. May as well give the business to Jake, as far as I'm concerned it's well worth it for about twice as much as the kit to do it yourself.

When a person buys a vehicle, many times it is their ONLY one and we have to be careful that we don't lead someone into a purchase decision that they'll later financially regret just because WE think the repair is easy.

So the moral of the story is buy a car with records, or buy one with the H/G already done unless you have the time, effort, and money to invest in having a sidelined car (with the potential of a cracked head no less) hoping everything goes perfectly.
 

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a brake job frequently calls for 2.5 - 4 hours of book time and there is no way a brake job will take that long, past that I never said that the job would be easy, I just said that its not as difficult as people think, but it is long and tedious.
 

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My point is there are two distinct sets of buyers that we should be providing distinct kinds of advice to:

1. Buyer who has at least the same technical ability you do and is specifically LOOKING for a bargain Caddy with a blown H/G. In this case you are spot on.

2. Buyer who is the average casual shopper who thinks Cadillacs are pretty and cheap. These people should probably be buying a properly maintained vehicle with a functional engine.
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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Playdrv, you MUST change that avatar. My jaws clench and the hair on the back of my neck stands up every time I see it (him). :annoyed:

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
 

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Playdrv, you MUST change that avatar. My jaws clench and the hair on the back of my neck stands up every time I see it (him). :annoyed:

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
LOL. Alright, alright Ranger... I'll look for something else clever. :) You have to rank pretty highly to make me consider changing my avatar :p
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well thanks to all. For the record, the caddy's have been my wife's cars. I have always had jaguars, and I do mean jaguars.....lol....not Fords or worse still, TATAs. It goes without saying that if I have chosen to drive Jags for the last 20 years, I don't mind servicing my cars. I have bought caddys for her because they are nice looking, comfortable, safe and you can pick up a good one for short money.

The reason for my thread is that I had just read bad reviews on the Northstar and one car to get headaches over(the jag) is enough. Reliability is the key to buying a car for my wife.

Thanks again for the inputs.
Ray
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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LOL. Alright, alright Ranger... I'll look for something else clever. :) You have to rank pretty highly to make me consider changing my avatar :p
Now isn't this avatar :tongue2: so much easier on the yes than Billy Mays. :vomit: Nice choice. :thumbsup:
 
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