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1999 Eldorado ETC
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Discussion Starter #1
It has been just over one year since we bought my wife's '99 ETC. The car has performed almost flawlessly.
Right up until yesterday...

Wife was out in the car with clients when it it started making a scraping rapping noise from under the hood. No warning lights. No messages from the info center.

I met her and let her take my car while I took her car home. At the time, it seemed to me like the noise was coming from the transmission and would come and go randomly yet the car ran fine, shifted fine, was at correct temperature and had no codes or warnings. Got the car home and had some lunch before taking a good look. When I started the car it rapped like it was a cold diesel but quieted somewhat after about 5 seconds, seeming more and more like a rod bearing noise. Still, no warning lights, codes or messages from info center.
Called the Nissan dealer where I bought the car and informed them that I would be bringing the car in as the car came with a drive train warranty.
Drove the car down to the Nissan dealer and drove the car in the garage. You know you have a serious engine knock when it gets the immediate attention of every single person in a service department. Mechanics swarmed over the car and the logical consensus was a most likely a spun rod bearing.
Still no lights, codes or warnings of any kind.

At this point being a Friday, nothing can be done 'til Monday. The manager took all the info and confirmed that indeed I had had the oil changed at the dealer per their warranty requirements. This means that the third party warranty company should have no problem with repairing the car. I say SHOULD have no problem.

As it stood two days ago, I had a perfectly silent running 4.6 Northstar that had just turned 80,000 miles on it and had never overheated since we owned it.
My concerns are that they will try to stick a junkyard motor with more miles on it than the Space Shuttle in the car. Will I get back a car with a motor on the verge of a head gasket failure?

It is my understanding from perusing many pages off this site that a rod bearing failure almost never happens on the 4.6 Northstar. What the heck happened here?
 

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'14 ATS Premium with 3 pedals | Past: '13 ATS Performance & '99 Seville STS
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5,847 Posts
I would say just wait until Monday to hear back from Nissan dealer to know what is really wrong with the Car. If they detect the engine is gone and needs to be replaced, you need to see what are the terms & conditions of your warranty.
 

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2010 DTS
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It is my understanding from perusing many pages off this site that a rod bearing failure almost never happens on the 4.6 Northstar.
That is true. The lower end is almost bullet proof. This is rare indeed IF a spun rod bearing is in fact the problem. Please keep us updated.
 

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97 ETC
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84 Posts
CARBON.....Have seen this a few times over and my own ETC had a sledge hammer banging 3 years ago and i was so sure it was a rod so i parked it for a month because of time. i finally decided to dig into it and doing a decarbon rail service and knock went away...

Back when we had carbs it was easier to pour water to decarbon the engine but with are intakes its hard to do it so all 8 holes get it....If they come back with lower end issue I would look for a 2nd opinion IMHO

Good Luck Sir
 

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1999 Eldorado ETC
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Well, the Nissan dealer towed the car to the Cadillac dealer. The Cadillac dealer is saying that the noise is the starter not dis-engaging. Makes sense to me as that knock/scrape seemed to be right at the rear top of the engine where the torque converter would be.
This is good news and bad news.
Blown engine warranty pays for.
Bad starter not covered, nor would any damage incurred by a bad starter.
I am perfectly capable of replacing the starter myself but am wondering if there could be damage to the flywheel/flexplate.
It would really suck to spend $500.00 on a starter only to find there is more damage that would require drivetrain separation.
 

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97 ETC
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84 Posts
WOW thats a strange one for sure....at least you know what it is...but for the techs at Nissan to say its a rod from a starter bendix draging is wierd to me...thats a totaly differant sound..Oh well at least you know..

If your doing the starter yourself take note of how tight the nuts are on the starter cables...I think i have read where they tend to be somewhat loose and when i replaced mine this was the case for the main power cable...even after i tightend it the starter worked but then would get to that bad spot... I double nutted both the power and the solenoid as a CYA...

Good luck let us know how it turns out sir....

PS you can rotate the motor and inspect the ring gear on the flywheel so you would have piece of mind..
 

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98 eldo/KD54 w/N37,T96,QA1,D55,DS3,U1Z. U3R next
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2,125 Posts
"It would really suck to spend $500.00 on a starter only to find there is more damage that would require drivetrain separation."

500 to replace the starter?.......WOW
 

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1999 Eldorado ETC
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well, the plot thickens considerably.
We paid off the Nissan dealer for their half-hour of diagnosis and took the car to my prefered and trusted mechanic to have a starter installed.

Trusted mechanic called me this afternoon and told me I had to come down to see the car. Said it would be easier to show me the problem than try to explain over the phone. When I got there, he had the car on a lift and proceded to show me what was wrong with our Eldorado. While one mechanic took a pry bar and pryed on the crank damper we watched through a peep hole where the engine meets the transmission as the flywheel deflected back and forth a full 1/4". The teeth on the flywheel were slowly grinding areas around the transmission bell housing and had even ground off part of the cone of the starter. Ironically, this was the only thing wrong with the starter. The gear and bendix are just fine.
Looks like it's the thrust bearing inside the motor which drops this whole mess right back in the lap of the Nissan dealer and their warranty company. Talked with a representative of the warranty company who after hearing the diagnosis of my trusted mechanic, seems pretty convinced that we indeed do have a legit claim.

More to come I'm sure...
 

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not anymore 2007 Lexus ES350
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wow that would be awesome keep posted about it if they are going to cover that thats cool what is the name of the warranty company you have its always good to know of a warranty company that does not screw there customers around
 

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1999 Eldorado ETC
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
It's called Warranty Forever. We bought the car from Sunnyside Nissan but they seem to be a popular thing with a lot of these dealers here in Northeast Ohio. Couldn't find much about them online, negative or otherwise.
 

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not anymore 2007 Lexus ES350
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It's called Warranty Forever. We bought the car from Sunnyside Nissan but they seem to be a popular thing with a lot of these dealers here in Northeast Ohio. Couldn't find much about them online, negative or otherwise.
witch nissa dealer
and wich cadillac dealer did they take it to your in NE ohio
im in Beachwood

i know of the warranty for ever
vandavere and a few others offer it in Canton Akron and cleveland
iv heard a few good things but from what i rememebr you can only get it at the dealership
 

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03 STS
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claims covered by warranties are great but warranties are not free. my brother bought used car and had 30 days to agree to warranty. at day 28, he threw a rod. called warranty co and they said pay for warranty and get new motor. this was years ago and warranty was 500 or so. if warranty cost 2000 now, than its still a better deal than paying to replace motor.
 

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1999 Eldorado ETC
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Sunnyside Nissan took it to Classic Cadillac. Both in Mentor.
Warranty was part of the deal on the car and was not any extra. The wife beat the salesman so far down on the price that they wanted to exclude the warranty. We told them no warranty, no sale. Thank God.
 

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1999 Cadillac Seville STS (November 2012, 183k)
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"It would really suck to spend $500.00 on a starter only to find there is more damage that would require drivetrain separation."

500 to replace the starter?.......WOW
Yepp, had mine replaced a couple months ago and it was about 5-600
 

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1999 Eldorado ETC
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Well, it's been two weeks. The Eldorado is still sitting at my trusted mechanic's shop and trusted mechanic is lobbying for rebuilt GM engine. Cost with labor easily exceeds the worth of the car. There basically are no 9 Code Northstar engines available locally that have less than 125000 miles on them. Not even the warranty company wants to take a chance on one of these grenade motors if they did find one.
After renting a Chevy HHR for over two weeks, we liked it so much, we went out and bought a really nice used one. The wife is still hoping her "baby" can be fixed. I am hoping for a big fat pay-off check from warranty company so we can part out or sell this car cheap and put this nightmare behind us.
 

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not anymore 2007 Lexus ES350
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Well, it's been two weeks. The Eldorado is still sitting at my trusted mechanic's shop and trusted mechanic is lobbying for rebuilt GM engine. Cost with labor easily exceeds the worth of the car. There basically are no 9 Code Northstar engines available locally that have less than 125000 miles on them. Not even the warranty company wants to take a chance on one of these grenade motors if they did find one.
After renting a Chevy HHR for over two weeks, we liked it so much, we went out and bought a really nice used one. The wife is still hoping her "baby" can be fixed. I am hoping for a big fat pay-off check from warranty company so we can part out or sell this car cheap and put this nightmare behind us.

maybe im wrong here but a warranty company is not insurance i thout they have to fix that car and not pay out on it
don't they have in there contract that they need to repair it or is there a clause that says if its over a number amount they can purchase it out from you ?
 

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1999 Eldorado ETC
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
They don't buy the car out from under you. It is a warranty, not an insurance policy.
They will pay for repairs up to the book value of the car. If cost of repairs exceeds the book value, I have the option of taking a payoff to either fix the car somewhere cheaper (or myself), or I can take what they offer and add my own cash to it to complete the repairs should repairs cost more than car's value.
Either way, Once they pay out up to the value of the car, they are no longer responsible to any more repairs effectively canceling any future warranty claims.
In other words, fixed the engine, now pray the transmission doesn't take a dump.
 

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1999 Eldorado ETC
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Discussion Starter #19
Well, the latest update is that we are at a stalemate.
Warranty company not willing to shell out $6400.00 for a GM rebuilt engine. They want a "good" junkyard engine installed in car. Trusted mechanic says odds are better at winning the Lotto than finding a "good" junkyard Northstar and refuses to warrant any work done on our car that involves a used Northstar motor.
Warranty company says it is standard procedure for mechanic to stand behind his motor installations. Trusted mechanic says "Not on a Northstar I won't".
Meanwhile the car sits...
 

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2010 DTS
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Warranty company says it is standard procedure for mechanic to stand behind his motor installations. Trusted mechanic says "Not on a Northstar I won't".
There is a big difference between standing behind his installation work and the quality of a used motor that he has nothing to do with. I don't blame him. It's the junkyards responsibility to stand behind the motor.
 
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