Cadillac Owners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
1999 ESC
99' Eldo
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Have recently posted inquiries about solutions for my 1999 Eldo (82K) blown head gasket. I have read many posts about the available solutions from drilling and installing inserts in the block ( requires removing the engine, installing inserts and re-installing engine - typically about $3000) To replacement engines at about $3500 + installation @about $2000 = total close to $6000 ) I love my Eldo and it broke my heart to have to deal with a $6000 repair to keep it. As I agonized over a solution, I discovered Thermalweld - https://thermalweld.com/ as any Cadiiliac Northstar owner with a head gasket problem, I was very skeptical about a liquid solution to a blown head gasket BUT after visiting their website and talking to the chemist/owner (Robert Hooper) who actually invented the Thermalweld chemical liquid solution - I decided there was no downside to trying it ( his formula will not clog anything in the cooling system) - if it didn't work - I was only out $250. Far less than $6000. I flushed my cooling system of Dexcool yesterday and refilled with water (according to detailed installation instructions) Following instructions I have driven the Eldo over 50 miles and have not experienced any overheating - amazing to me! I couldn't believe that Mr. Robert Hooper (owner) is available as often as you need him - to hold your hand thru the entire installation. Now I know all the experts are going to poo-poo this solution -but the bottom line is - initially it has worked for me. If enough are interested I will repost my results during the next 60 days.?
 

·
Registered
2012 SRX Luxury
Joined
·
439 Posts
Wow, if that works we'll have to relabel the term "snake oil" to "snake juice" !

But in all seriousness, I hope it works for you and saves you of the other $6,000.

Steve
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
71,078 Posts
Lots of luck. Glad that you used the "initially" caveat.

"ThermalWeld" sounds suspiciously like a solution of sodium silicate that you mix with fresh water.

Remember: The exhaust gas in the coolant is NOT caused by initial failure of the head gasket itself. It is caused by failure of the cylinder block head bolt hole threads, leading to loss of head clamping pressure, leading to head gasket failure.
 

·
1999 ESC
99' Eldo
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I totally understand the skepticism - but so far I'm like a pig in mud...the old man Robert Hooper has been helping Northstar owners for over 20 years repair their blown head gasket problems. He actually is a chemist who invented the Termalweld formula - so again - I'll continue to give him the benefit of the doubt based on his past successes...and monitor my installation over the next 60 days. ?
 

·
Super Moderator
2010 DTS
Joined
·
87,564 Posts
I'll be amazed if it is anything more than a temporary repair.

I don't see how it can plug a HG leak, but not anything else.

Good luck and keep us updated.
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
71,078 Posts
Convincing website. Works for every make, model, engine, head gasket.
 

·
1999 ESC
99' Eldo
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Lots of luck. Glad that you used the "initially" caveat.

"ThermalWeld" sounds suspiciously like a solution of sodium silicate that you mix with fresh water.

Remember: The exhaust gas in the coolant is NOT caused by initial failure of the head gasket itself. It is caused by failure of the cylinder block head bolt hole threads, leading to loss of head clamping pressure, leading to head gasket failure.
Convincing website. Works for every make, model, engine, head gasket.
I appreciate your positive comments - over the years I have read a lot of your responses - you're a very knowledgable technical person - who enjoys helping Cadillac owners with their problems. Robert Hooper - owner @ Thermalweld acknowledged that his product uses sodium silicate - as does over a dozen other " blown head gasket "products do - but when trying to explain the differences - I just said - put it in writing and I will post it. Apparently, he created the Thremalweld product about 20 yrs ago and has been helping Cadillac owners solve their HG problems since 1995. He welcomes a phone call from anyone trying to understand how Thermalweld could help - his number is 805-440-3175 I know I am a guinea pig for this solution - I'm only 3 days into the addition of Thermalweld - just finished 225-mile highway driving @ 75mph - temp gauge reading 12 noon - directly straight up - not having to add any water.
Still happy as a pig in mud!?
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
71,078 Posts
At least, in Florida, you can run straight water as coolant, with maybe a corrosion inhibitor. Not so for anyone above the Georgia - SoCal line. Ask him if the stuff works with a 50/50 or greater coolant/water ratio.

Remember when sodium silicate was used to destroy engines under the Cash For Clunkers buyback program ? Many good engines were destroyed and sent to the dumps using that stuff.

No, I elect not to call him and argue. I am in the camp that would rather repair the Northstar head bolt thread failure problem correctly than stick BandAids on it.

You're satisfied, and that's what counts. I'll hold my tongue for a year or so ..... Northstar - remember that.

 

·
1999 ESC
99' Eldo
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
At least, in Florida, you can run straight water as coolant, with maybe a corrosion inhibitor. Not so for anyone above the Georgia - SoCal line. Ask him if the stuff works with a 50/50 or greater coolant/water ratio.

Remember when sodium silicate was used to destroy engines under the Cash For Clunkers buyback program ? Many good engines were destroyed and sent to the dumps using that stuff.

No, I elect not to call him and argue. I am in the camp that would rather repair the Northstar head bolt thread failure problem correctly than stick BandAids on it.

You're satisfied, and that's what counts. I'll hold my tongue for a year or so ..... Northstar - remember that.

The instructions say - flush the Dexcool - add water only - add Thermalweld - run for 2 weeks - flush water with the Thermalweld - add 50/50 coolant /water mix - I'm only into this questionable process/procedure 3 days.... so still running Thermalweld with water -there is no salemanship/arguing talking with Mr. Hooper - the guy is 73 years old and seems to me is just like you - in that with 20 yrs experience helping solve Northstar HG's - he just wants to help Northstar owners solve a problem for a lot less $. Time will tell...I'm willing to wait and monitor ....but so far I'm happy.
 

·
Super Moderator
2010 DTS
Joined
·
87,564 Posts
It may take more than 6 months. Read this thread and note post #7.
 

·
1999 ESC
99' Eldo
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I have run my 99 Eldo Northstar about 2000 miles( actual 1937) since installing Thermalweld on 8/22/2019. It doesn't overheat anymore and there are no performance issues (still runs like a scaled dog) I never intended to imply this was a better solution than installing inserts - rather I didn't have $3k to drop into a 20-year-old car. I love the Eldo and it's classic styling and am just happy I didn't have to junk it. Yes there is one downside - I'm having to add about 8oz's every 2 weeks - a little inconvenient - but to keep it on the road for only $250 - I'll put up with the inconvenience. Perhaps not a solution for everyone, but I'm still on the road! We'll see if I make it to 1 year! Recently read Scooter111 post about O ring in WP causing coolant loss - my WP less than 2 years old - if coolant loss due to WP O ring failure - I'll live with adding coolant - trying to determine coolant level on my surge tank - I am assuming the seam (where top and bottom of surge tank glued together) is the proper cold coolant level - looking into surge tank from top - the correct level seems to be about 2 inches below tank neck - which I assume comes close to level of seam. Without any performance issues - wonder if it's worth another blue fluid test - but will test again - just to see if any exhaust in coolant - for peace of mind.
 

Attachments

·
1999 ESC
99' Eldo
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
At least, in Florida, you can run straight water as coolant, with maybe a corrosion inhibitor. Not so for anyone above the Georgia - SoCal line. Ask him if the stuff works with a 50/50 or greater coolant/water ratio.

Remember when sodium silicate was used to destroy engines under the Cash For Clunkers buyback program ? Many good engines were destroyed and sent to the dumps using that stuff.

No, I elect not to call him and argue. I am in the camp that would rather repair the Northstar head bolt thread failure problem correctly than stick BandAids on it.

You're satisfied, and that's what counts. I'll hold my tongue for a year or so ..... Northstar - remember that.

I went on your google search - looking for how Sodium silicate was used to destroy engines in the Cash For Clunkers program - here's what the website said - Technical Grade Sodium Silicate Solution or Water Glass, 16oz for sale. Buy from The Science Company = " Sometimes used to seal small cracks or leaks in the cooling system." not to be argumentative but it appears it could be used for sealing small cracks " as it did for me - who knows how long the seal will last! But I'm still thankful to be driving the old Eldo.I mean no disrespect to any of you "Super Moderators" I respect your knowledgeable opinions - that's why I come back to Cadillac Forum for answers- you guys offer great advice! (y)
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
71,078 Posts
Bottom line: Most Northstar owners and gearheads DO NOT recommend using snake oils and magic potions to temporarily slow a major engine repair job necessity. Someone is making money hand over fist and you appear to be a willing shill. Sodium silicate is dirt cheap and is available at any drugstore in the world. A quick Google search reveals the crap sells for $18 to $29 a gallon.

My opinion is that the stuff is a temporary band-aid and the cause of the earlier Northstar head bolt hole thread failures can be repaired permanently using any of 3 or 4 accepted repair procedures - using either inserts or studs. Yes, it costs time and money, unlike pouring magic goop into the engine which ruins it for subsequent disassembly and repair.
 

·
Super Moderator
2010 DTS
Joined
·
87,564 Posts
not to be argumentative but it appears it could be used for sealing small cracks " as it did for me
That is true....... for "small cracks" like in the head or block, but you don't have a small crack. You have a stripped head bolt (or more) causing the head to loose it's clamping force. The constant expansion and contraction will eventually cause the seal from the sodium silicate to fail, AND will most likely allow coolant into the other head bolts causing more galvanic action to those bolts. That's why we say it is a temporary fix. It WILL stave off the inevitable and buy you time though.
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
71,078 Posts
^ ^ ^ That's the kicker - the Northstar "head gasket" problems are not caused by cracks or initially failed gaskets - they're caused by thread failure in the cylinder block head bolt holes, allowing the bolt(s) to pull, lose clamping pressure, and that action allows exhaust gas leaks into the cooling passages.

Once the clamping pressure on that steel fire ring is gone leaks start and the magic potions are exactly like trying to seal the San Andreas Fault with concrete: It may hold for a while but when it goes again it will be spectacular.

Because the Northstar block is an open deck design using cast-in iron cylinder liners ANY compromised bolt clamping pressure leads to gasket failure. There's precious little gasket clamping surface to begin with.

This is not a Northstar head gasket but it shows the fire rings and softer gasket material.

anatomy_of_a_headgasket.jpg


Now look at the gray rings right at the (dirty, indistinct) fire rings - that thin gray line is all the surface there is for holding back exhaust gases. Lose the clamping pressure and BINGO! - Gas leaks into the adjacent cooling passages - those round and curved holes that allow coolant flow from the block up to the heads. See the brown ring - with the holes in it ? That's the imprint of the open deck - there's NOTHING there to seal the gasket surface. The oddball oval/tapered hole is one of the oil drainback holes from the heads to the block/oil pan.

HeadGasket3.jpg


And here's a shot of a Northstar block showing the open deck design. See the dark area around each cylinder/piston ? That's the cooling area around the edge of the cylinder liner - not much "meat", is there ? And look at the slim Siamesed space between cylinders.......

Northstar open deck.jpg
 

·
Registered
97 ETC x2, 04 GXP, 04 STS x2, 97 ESC, 99 Deville, 05 SRX
Joined
·
2,604 Posts
This has to be my first post, in what, 4 years? lol. I couldn't keep my mouth shut on this post.

This "snake oil", and let's call it that, because that's all it is, will NOT work in every circumstance. And if it does, it'll be temporary.

If such a liquid is so durable, the chemist should sell it to automakers and tell them "with this solution, you won't need to install head bolts in your engines anymore". Now if that comment sounds stupid, then you've gotten the point.

Miracle sealants will ONLY work SOME of the time, if NONE of the head bolts have let go. A Northstar with even just "1" head bolt that does not hold proper torque, WILL overheat under heavy engine load. Ask me how I know this.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top