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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My overheating 97 deville has exhaust in the coolant, and I'm pretty sure I'm looking at a replacement engine (I don't think I can fix this by myself). The car has 66k miles on it, and is in otherwise excellent condition, cream with leather seats. Does anyone have any idea what the car is worth if I try to sell it? Would it be more cost-effective to fix it, then sell it (or keep it)? Does anyone out there want to buy it?
 

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cockmanje said:
My overheating 97 deville has exhaust in the coolant, and I'm pretty sure I'm looking at a replacement engine (I don't think I can fix this by myself). The car has 66k miles on it, and is in otherwise excellent condition, cream with leather seats. Does anyone have any idea what the car is worth if I try to sell it? Would it be more cost-effective to fix it, then sell it (or keep it)? Does anyone out there want to buy it?
How much are you willing to sell it for?

You can find a good engine for as low as $1000 sometimes lower but if you can't do the labor yourself your looking at about $2000-$4000 in a shop to have the engine replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ocjmakaveli said:
How much are you willing to sell it for?
First, I would like to get an idea of what it is worth with an engine that needs replacing.

You can find a good engine for as low as $1000 sometimes lower
Is that a used engine?

your looking at about $2000-$4000 in a shop
The KBB lists that this car (Coucours Sedan 4D) at between $7500 and $8000. If it costs $4000 to fix, then I guess I should sell the car around $3500 as is.
 

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01 frontier , 89 Shelby CSX vnt
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you wont get 3500 for it with a blown engine ....you might get 600 for it .....cars worthless without the engine ...

figure out what you want to do ....you certanly are in for one hell of a judgement call , 3500 to get it running , or 600 towards something else ...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Stoneage_Caddy said:
cars worthless without the engine ...
Wow... Thanks, it sounds like I'd better replace it. Does anyone have a source for used engines? Also: Does anyone know any good mechanics in Western NC? I kind of hate to take it to the dealer...

:bling:
 

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1989 Sedan DeVille is now just a fond memory ....
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Find out exactly what the problem is first. 66k miles is not that bad, if it is a blown head gasket you don't need to replace the entire engine. I relpaced the head gaskets on my 88 Mustang at 225k miles, it now has 310k miles and still running strong.

If it is a blown head gasket I would guess an honest mechanic would do a good job for any where between $1,200 - 1,800. Start asking around. Call every shop you trust (get recommendations from friends) and ask them about replacing the head gaskets. A good shop should tell you that if one is blown you should replace both at the same time.

If you are mechanically inclined and have done this kind of thing before you could do the job yourself as I have done and save yourself $1,000 or more.
 

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cockmanje said:
Wow... Thanks, it sounds like I'd better replace it. Does anyone have a source for used engines? Also: Does anyone know any good mechanics in Western NC? I kind of hate to take it to the dealer...

:bling:

I think you can get at least $2000 since you are basically selling the body and you have to account for the fact that it is not running and it will cost a fair amount to fix.

The other issue is if it is only the headgaskets that have failed then you can just haev the gaskets replaced for less than $2000 but you have to shop around.


If you decide to have the gaskets replaced I would highly recommend finding someone that has done it before because it isn't an easy thing to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
After some looking around I called Premier Chevrolet in Wilkesboro, NC. They are apparently a good name in the area. The price quoted for repairing both gaskets on my engine was just under $2000 for parts and labor.

On an interresting note, they asked me to look at the eighth digit of my VIN to see if it was a '9' or a 'Y'. This signifies an engine difference that they needed to know before they could give me the quote.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Can anyone give me advise on what information I should arm myself with before visiting the mechanic? Are there any preparations I should make to the car, any extra diagnostics? Thanks!
 

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cockmanje said:
After some looking around I called Premier Chevrolet in Wilkesboro, NC. They are apparently a good name in the area. The price quoted for repairing both gaskets on my engine was just under $2000 for parts and labor.

On an interresting note, they asked me to look at the eighth digit of my VIN to see if it was a '9' or a 'Y'. This signifies an engine difference that they needed to know before they could give me the quote.
These questions they've asked give you an indication that they may be on the ball here! Good!
 

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There are many threads on Headgasket Repair's on this forum. If you take it to someone to fix, make sure they are going to timesert the headbolt holes in the block, otherwise you'll be wasting your $$$
 

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Discussion Starter #12
b4oliver said:
make sure they are going to timesert the headbolt holes in the block
Thanks, I just searched timeserts and learned a lot. The service manager told me that they do timeserts. My car is scheduled for repairs in five days. That should give me time for some more research. Thanks for all the posts!

John
 

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At 66K, I'm willing to bet it Does Not have a blown Head Gasket.
Be very wary of ALL Dealers, and most independent shops, seems everyone thinks that if you can afford a Caddy, you can afford to sink big bucks on it.
Diagnosing ANY Cadillac cooling system issue as a "Blown Head Gasket" seems to be a disturbing trend among most mechanics.
I would start with the basics: ensure you have the sealant tabs/powder in the Dex-Cool, check the water pump belt tensioner for proper operation and tension, the water pump belt (the belts WILL stretch with age, causing it to slip, especially at higher speeds), the purge tank cap, make sure the purge line is clear, carefully check all your hoses, even a pinhole or loose clamp will hurt your cooling.
Check your cooling fans for proper operation.
Your radiator could possibly be clogged, check it for sufficient flow and back flush it if it does not flow freely, or even have it proffesionally cleaned by your local radiator shop.
You say you have exhaust in the coolant, this wouldn't by chance have been discovered by the infamous "Hydrocarbon" test would it? The hydrocarbon test is pure bunk! Heated coolant, by nature, produces hydrocarbons. The only true test for a blown head gasket (barring oil in coolant or vice-versa or steam steadily produced from the exhaust) is the cylinder pressure test. A search of this site will tell you how.
I speak from experience, having purchased 3 DeVilles this year alone, all with "blown head gaskets, all cheap, and only 1 of the 3 truly had a bad head gasket. ($1300 for a used engine and voila, a nice gift for my daughter), one (97) had a clogged radiator on a recent new crate engine, causing it to overheat at extended highway driving, the other (98) simply needed a new pressure cap as the coolant was overflowing at 230 degrees, causing a loss of coolant which resulted in overheating.
Hope you take the proper steps to check these things before you let someone take all your money, possibly needlessly.
I firmly believe that a large majority of Northstar cooling issues can be solved quite inexpensively, and that their reputation for "Blown Head Gaskets" is almost entirely due to rip-off artists and/ or ignorance.
Hope this helps before you shell out big bucks needlessly.
 

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Before You Sock All Your Money Away On This Project I Would Get Many Opinions & Price Quotes From Different Mechanics. If You Don't Have A Lot Of Cash To Dish Out For All These Repairs I'd Look For A Good Used Car That's Running. Instead Of Dumping Everything On This One. Just My Opinion
 

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Be sure it is a head gasket problem. Just over heating could be a lot of different things, most of them a LOT cheaper than head gaskets.
Do a compression check. Get a compression gage at an auto parts store. Get a spark plug socket, and wrench. Get a friend to help.
Remove all the spark plugs. Mark the number of the cylinder onto each plug as you remove it. Keep the crud in the plug hole from going into the cylinder when the plug comes out. Blow out the plug area with compressed air, or use a vacuum cleaner or one of those "dust it" cans of air they sell for cleaning out computer keyboards before using the wrench.
Jam the rubber business end of the gage hard down into a spark plug hole.
Have friend crank the engine.
Watch the gage pump up. Note pressure obtained on a piece of paper.
Do all eight cylinders the same way.
Look at the pressure readings on the paper. if they are all about the same, the head gasket is good. If one or more are way low, you have a leaky head gasket. Each head gasket (there is one on each cylinder bank) seals four cylinders. When they fail, they fail one cylinder at a time rather than all at once. The failed (leaky) cylinder will read lower than average.
How low is too low? I'd call anything less than 10% cylinder-to-cylinder variation good. 50% is definitely bad. For readings inbetween 10% and 50% get the opinion of a real mechanic, rather than a shade tree type like yours truly.
Read the plugs while you have them out. A light tan coating on the electrodes and ceramic insulation is good. Wet plugs (oil or coolant) are a bad sign. Heavy black carbon buildup indicates an oil leak. If the electrodes are burned round and the gap is burned out wider than spec, treat the engine to a set of new plugs. A wet plug from a cylinder with low compression is confirmation of a leak. A good looking dry plug from a low compression cylinder would make me repeat the compression test just in case I got mixed up. A net search or a library trip will yield a book with color pictures and instructions on reading plugs.
If you replace the old plugs, put them back in the cylinders they came out of just in case you want to read them again later. If you put in new plugs check the gap with a wire gage. New plugs usually come from the factory gapped right, but it is always worth a check. Put a drop of the right anti seize stuff on the plug threads before replacing them. Don't strip the threads in the plug hole when replacing the plugs. Start the threads by hand and hand tighten them. If the plug won't start or screw down by hand, you have crud in the threads or they are cross threaded. Once started, tighten with the spark plug socket and wrench. If you have a torque wrench and know the right torque go that way. If you lack one or the other, tighten the plugs enough to squeeze the metal sparkplug gasket flat but not so hard as to strip out the threads.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Here's the Wednesday morning update: The head gasket price my mechanic quoted me did not include the timeserts. The price with the inserts is $3300. He gave me the warning that sometimes when the engine has been overheated, it can get soft and the threads still may pull, and he can not be responsible for this. He can put a used engine with comperable miles (66k) for $4000, including a 6 month parts warranty. Labor warranty is extra. The price is more for a rebuilt engine, and a new one runs about $9000.

What do you think about these prices?

Thanks, jupiter57, for the list of alternatives to head problems. I did not do a cylinder test, but I did check the other things. I am sure the mechanic would do this as part of the diagnostic before he pulls the engine out, but I will ask to make sure.
 

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I think if the used engine has not been timeserted you will be in this same postion again in the near future.

Get some other opinions from trustworthy mechanics.
 

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I HAVE A 97 DEVILLE 130K RECENTLY STARTED SMELLING BURNING OIL THEN CLLANT LEVEL LOW ALRMS. CHANGED OIL AND ADDED DEX-COOL AND ENGINE STILL RUNS HOT.dOES THIS SOUND LIKE BLOWN HEAD GASKETS?
 
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