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1998 Deville
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
New to the forum but would appreciate your help.

  • antifreeze smell
  • windows fog
  • overheating

    I got the sensor saying the antifreeze level is low. I add antifreeze last night, then drive to work today. I began smelling antifreeze at lunch, then attempted to drive home from work. The smell started faintly, then got stonger. The temperature at first flucuates between 205-217, then about 3 miles later jumped, at last check to 251 and began to smoke inside the cabin, fogging up windows. I pull over (since I can't see) pop the hood, but see no smoke atthe engine, only faintly on the back panel (firewall). All smoke is inside the cabin, witha small fluid drip on the passenger side floor. I was told at first by my brother it is a cracked/blown head or block. I then talked to a friend that works on cars, who says it is a heater core. Please help.
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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11,694 Posts
Windows fogging internally is your primary indicator that your heater core is the culprit. Headbolt and headgasket problems ARE common on your car, but it does not cause interior windows to fog, or a noticeable coolant smell INSIDE the car.
 

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1998 Deville
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
You guys are great. Quick responses. Please help with repair price range from private garage, or how easy to work on myself. it is a 1998 Deville, 4.6L Northstar.
 

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1992 eldorado. 2007 dodge magnum hemi r/t
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3,013 Posts
You guys are great. Quick responses. Please help with repair price range from private garage, or how easy to work on myself. it is a 1998 Deville, 4.6L Northstar.
It is not a easy thing to repair, try the "search" section and type in heater core for some info, the search feature is just above this reply,
look around for it,there's two lines of topics,it's in there.good luck.
 

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1998 Deville
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Shop informed me it is the heater core, but also noted my oil level is extremely low. Does one thing have anything to do with the other? I just got an oil change about 2 1/2 months ago. and have not seen any leaks in my driveway.
 

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Super Moderator
2010 DTS
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87,575 Posts
Not even remotely linked. Click on the Technical Archives at the top of the page and read up on oil consumption. I doubt you where "extremely" low. You will get a warning message to CHECK OIL LEVEL when you are 2 qts low or just about the time that the level drops off the tip of the dipstick. You still have 5.5 qts in the sump. If you did not get that message you where not even that low.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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71,110 Posts
The oil change shop probably only installed 5.5 quarts of oil. The Northstar takes 7.5 quarts to bring it to the middle of the dipstick hashmark, no higher.

There's a GM Technical Service Bulletin concerning oil fill and consumption: If you carry your oil at the top or MAX mark, it's overfilled.

Go up and read the entire Cadillac Technical Archive up ^^^ in the black bar.

(edit .............Oooooopppps......Ranger beat me to it.....
 

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2005 STS4 1SG: GM Acc Lights, Corsa, Platnium Grille, Volant
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15,987 Posts
Rangers usually good for that haha

and to comply its the heater core for sure
be glad you have a 98 and not a 00+
not a fun job ask me how i know...
im pretty sure my pics are still posted when i did it on the 98 STS (same way to change it on a 00+ Deville)
 

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1998 Deville
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Just got it back. Runs fine. no antifreeze smell. Shop told me it still runs hotter than he expected at stops and idle. He suggested I get a dye test at dealership, to see if there is any seepage or engine damage. I have a feeling it has run too hot for too long and has damaged the block. I'm interested to know what temperature range is "O.K." before I need to panic.

Any thoughts?
 

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1998 Deville
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Sorry to press, but is there any true way to know if I had messed anything up? I just know, after reading through the various forums, the problem the N* has with blown/cracked heads, overheating, etc...
 

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2010 DTS
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87,575 Posts
Relax, you did not mess anything up. If your head gaskets go, I guarantee you it is not from running those temps. My '97 ran those temps consistently. The Northstar was designed and tested to run with NO coolant for 50 miles, alternately shutting down each bank of injectors and pumping air through them to cool it WITHOUT doing any damage. That happens when it hits 260 degrees.
 

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1998 Deville
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Cool beans Ranger. I will ride it out. I was told I would see massive smoke (steam) coming from the exhaust if I had blown anything on the engine. Seems like I have heard that before. Thanks again.
 

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2010 DTS
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If you "blow" a head gasket you will not see massive amounts of steam. It will start out very very slow. You won't even see any steam in the early stages. You'll simply be low on coolant or maybe overheat once in a while. It slowly gets worse. You are fine, don't loose any sleep over it. Worst you did was stain the carpet. Clean it up and enjoy the car.
 

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1998 Deville
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Drove it to work this morning. 26 mile trip. highway mile went fine. never went above 205. Once I got off highway for a mile trip through city streets the thing starts to spike incrementally. It gets up to 233, but then goes back down to 210 once I ge to work. I don't remember it doing that previously. Any help? Also, at what temp does the fan kick on?
 

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2010 DTS
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87,575 Posts
Fans turn on at 224. They might not have purge the air from the system when they replaced the core. Driving it should do that. Check the purge line to be sure it is clear and flows coolant.
 

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1998 Deville
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Bad News. Ran hot on way home from work. Got stop engine, engine overheat, coolant too hot and change engine oil messages. Parked, opened hood and heard gurgling in reserve coolant tank. Steam coming from left side of engine, close to the reserve tank. Will let cool down before doing anything else. What to do? What to do?
 

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Super Moderator
2010 DTS
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Go to Napa and buy a block test kit. Follow the instructions and test the coolant for the presence of exhaust gases.
 

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1998 Deville
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32 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Ranger, I tested, got negative. I hope I did it correctly. I follow instructions to a tee. I still get boilover in coolant. Should I turn enginne of to make sure I don't get any coolant in the test tube? Also noticed the with A/C on low, bot fans are on. Only 1 should come on on low, correct?

Do you think it may be something else, maybe thermo stuck? (I doubt it , but I pray it is something simple like that)
 
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