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Discussion Starter #1
I'm now curious, having never owned a car which gives so much information before, what exactly are the standard things I should be looking for as far as:

What should be the average coolant temperature?

Is "universal/works with all types" coolant with no silicates ok, or does it HAVE to be DexCool?

How much coolant should I expect to put into the system and how frequently?

Do I really need to put those "tablets" into the radiator and if so, where exactly do I put them and how often?

As an aside, does anyone have a picture of this car or a similar one with the low-side and high side ports [A/C] marked? I can't seem to find any for this car online.
 

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Sedan de Ville, CTS
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Mine ran at about 197. In traffic in hot weather, it might go to 220. Anything above 227 or so, you need to start looking at potential problems. Once it gets to 240 or higher, you are DONE, COOKED, ETC.

Remember to change little fan belt on driver side that controls water pump. Many people do not realize it exists.

I believe you can use any type of antifreeze you want to, but you MUST FLUSH all old antifreeze out of system. I forget how many qts system holds, but you can plan on filling with 50%. That will keep you good to about -40 farenheit. Certainly, you can use less if you live in south.

Do not use tablets. If you have a radiator leak, take veh to radiator shop.

My shop manuals disappeared. Any garage can tell you which is high or low side.
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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Cooling system capacity is 12.5 qts., but you won't get it all out when draining it.

Tabs (if you choose to use them) go in the radiator hose, NOT in the surge tank. Factory stopped using them around 2000.

My '97 ran 206 (summer) & 213 (winter).

If I remember correctly the low side A/C port is by the accumulator near the surge tank and the high side is on the line along the firewall.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's sticking to about 203 Freeway and 206-208 in traffic but when I make a stop after going above 45-50MPH it climbs.

It seems the fan in it isn't turning on until about 225-230F

Could the temp sensor be at fault or is it more likely something else?

Also, should the fan still run for a bit when I shut off the car? My last two cars would keep the fan on if I'd driven it for a while, but the Caddy doesn't. Nothing when it's off.
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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It seems the fan in it isn't turning on until about 225-230F
Just about right. Fans on low at 224 & high at 229 (give or take a degree).

It's sticking to about 203 Freeway and 206-208 in traffic but when I make a stop after going above 45-50MPH it climbs.
How high?

Also, should the fan still run for a bit when I shut off the car?
Not sure now that you mention it. Can't recall if I have ever heard them run after shutdown.
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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Check the usual, too many bugs in the condenser fins, water pump belt tensioner & purge line.
 

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Your temps sound normal comparing to mine, goes just a smidge higher at max.

Runs 196 continuous on highway. In city, normal driving see up to around 206. Extended idling, it gets to around 222-224, then fans kick in and she cools to about 203-205 then starts warming and repeats. Mine is a 98 Deville DeElegance.
 

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01 Eldo ETC, 02 Deville SOLD!
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Xeper, let me assuage your fears - first off, if you have a temp gauge and the needle does NOT creep into the 'red zone', you're OK. It's very normal for any aluminum engine to have much wider temp swings than your old standard cast iron guy - they heat up fast, they cool off fast. Swings between highway speed temps (195 - 210) and stop-n-go temps in hot weather and with AC on are to be expected. 220/240 F in these engines is NOT, repeat NOT necessarily harmful. Hell, as Ranger noted, the fans don't even come on until 224 or so. The N* pushes a lot of coolant around in these engines - 12.5 quarts is quite a load considering the relatively small size of the engine block.

I would actually be more concerned if the temp gauge never moved, because that might indicate a faulty sensor. At least with the movement, you can be relatively sure the w/pump is working, the coolant is circulating well, and the radiator is doing its' job.

From what I understand, the N* cooling system was extensively tested in both high heat and extreme cold, and is sized with plenty of capacity. It's just that many people are not used to seeing a temp needle move back and forth so much. It's normal, but with the typical dumbed-down instrument panels of most cars, we just aren't used to it.

Unless it gets in to the red zone and stays there, don't keep eyeing the gauge so much, and concentrate on driving instead...

Oh, yes, the small water pump belt that z06BigBird mentions is worth a look at, but don't get too panicky about it - since it runs off a camshaft, it turns only 1/2 as much as the main serpentine belt, thus is not quite so critical a piece - take a look at it, make sure it's not cracked or falling apart, but that belt should be good for 100K miles easily...


:)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Another question, at what temp should the high-temp warning kick in? When should I be freaking out?
 

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2010 Cadillac Premium AWD CTS
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Well, my car a 97 SLS was running between 213 and 222, without the air on. the highest 226 in heavy traffic. This after I did the tensioner and belt for the water pump. A buddy of mine suggested I try that water wetter stuff, He has been using it for years and had good results, let me tell you I was skeptical about using it but since I was about to flush my coolant this year I figured I try it and see how it goes. Now my car runs at 196 to 212 without the air on. and the highest in heavy traffic. 222 and back down quickly to 196. I have to say that the water wetter stuff worked for me. I will be using it for now on.


David
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So at what temp does is warning supposed to yell at me?

I've taken the advice to just turn the temp off, because it still makes me paranoid, but I want to know how hot will it get before I'm warned? I don't want a blown head gasket or warping :(
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow that seems high.

Well, it got to 250 on the way home from work yesterday, then went right back down to cruise at 208 the whole way home. I got a really worried/paranoid, so I called 3 places today, 2 Cadillac dealer/service centers and one shop that specializes in Caddies.

The dealerships told me, based on what I described to them, that I have a blown head gasket. The 3rd guy told me that it's more likely [based on his experience] that the engine "twisted" and a bolt was ripped out. He said that it's a "semi well-known 'curse' of Northstar engines" or something.

So my questions are:

Which is more likely? Head-gasket? bolt-thingy? neither?

Is my warranty going to cover this? [powertrain warranty plus more, specifically states the head, head gasket, all internally lubricated parts, etc etc etc are covered]

How do I avoid being screwed by the mechanic/warranty company [by them doing work outside the warranty description or by just giving me some used engine of questionable origin instead of repair]

Is my car ever going to drive the way it's supposed to after this?
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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No such thing as an "engine twisting" and pulling a bolt. Head bolts do pull threads, but not for that reason. Based on what you said and the 250 degree temp I tend to think head gasket as well. Gasket or bolt is irrelevant. It the chicken or the egg thing. Either way the drivetrain has to come out. All 20 head bolt holes need to be Timeserted and the gaskets replaced.

Some warranty companies have cleaver ways of denying these claims as they are well known. Some won't cover bad gaskets unless it had to be taken apart for another reason (mechanical failure). You just have to read it and file the claim.

If repaired properly, it will be better than new.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So the car's gone in and is in queue to be tested, etc. I'm still worried that the warranty company might try and shaft me on repairing this. I've seen a lot of horror stories online about how the warranty company will try and claim it was "bolt failure" and bolts aren't covered... etc.

Am I overreacting? What is my recourse if they try and deny a claim for repair? I've had the car for fewer than two months. Can I hold the dealer accountable for any of this?
 

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Sedan de Ville, CTS
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Xeper, let me assuage your fears - first off, if you have a temp gauge and the needle does NOT creep into the 'red zone', you're OK. It's very normal for any aluminum engine to have much wider temp swings than your old standard cast iron guy - they heat up fast, they cool off fast. Swings between highway speed temps (195 - 210) and stop-n-go temps in hot weather and with AC on are to be expected. 220/240 F in these engines is NOT, repeat NOT necessarily harmful. Hell, as Ranger noted, the fans don't even come on until 224 or so. The N* pushes a lot of coolant around in these engines - 12.5 quarts is quite a load considering the relatively small size of the engine block.

I would actually be more concerned if the temp gauge never moved, because that might indicate a faulty sensor. At least with the movement, you can be relatively sure the w/pump is working, the coolant is circulating well, and the radiator is doing its' job.

From what I understand, the N* cooling system was extensively tested in both high heat and extreme cold, and is sized with plenty of capacity. It's just that many people are not used to seeing a temp needle move back and forth so much. It's normal, but with the typical dumbed-down instrument panels of most cars, we just aren't used to it.

Unless it gets in to the red zone and stays there, don't keep eyeing the gauge so much, and concentrate on driving instead...

Oh, yes, the small water pump belt that z06BigBird mentions is worth a look at, but don't get too panicky about it - since it runs off a camshaft, it turns only 1/2 as much as the main serpentine belt, thus is not quite so critical a piece - take a look at it, make sure it's not cracked or falling apart, but that belt should be good for 100K miles easily...


:)
Thanks for comments on water pump belt. Looks like I have been over reacting to that belt. (Long story on that.)

I did not realize that it turned much more slowly than serpentine.
 
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