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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking of buying a 97 STS (111K, excellent body int & ext; $3K); owner had head gaskets changed (some head bolt threads repaired, don't know how they were fixed). Engine ran 2 weeks, mechanic said it then 'lost power'. I heard engine run today for only ~3 seconds; there was some knocking but I couldn't tell if it was lower or higher engine knock. I'm trying to decide if I should buy this but I'm concerned about a possible engine pull being necessary.

The mechanic said the Northstars pull from the bottom only. Seems to me a tough way to go in a home garage. Can these be pulled from the top?

Or am I nutty for even thinking about this, even at $3K ?

Thanks
 

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94 ETC,97 STS
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There are a lot of threads about this. Do a search. Look in the Tec Tips section for N* Head Gasket repair.

The engine was made to come out the bottom and it's easier than it looks. A 97 is pretty easy. Some guys insist on pulling them from the top but there are some parts that are hard to do that way. It's up to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the quick reply. I've read some of those post and I'm currently reading more. Owner of this vehicle is the guy who did the service (previous owner couldn't pay for repairs) and he's holding the car for me for only 24 hours - that's why I'm cramming.

Another related question - are the block test kits useful/reliable? I'll check the Tec tips section for this also in case it's mentioned there.

Thanks again.
 

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jkk said:
thanks for the quick reply. I've read some of those post and I'm currently reading more. Owner of this vehicle is the guy who did the service (previous owner couldn't pay for repairs) and he's holding the car for me for only 24 hours - that's why I'm cramming.

Another related question - are the block test kits useful/reliable? I'll check the Tec tips section for this also in case it's mentioned there.

Thanks again.
For $3k at 111k miles and potential engine problems, especially after a head gasket job of unknown quality, I would say stay away like it's the plague. Don't even think about it. Walk away and don't look back.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I forgot to mention that I'll be doing the work, so I won't have to pay $$ for labor. Used engine ~$1500 is the only price I have so far.

KBB value is ~7500 here (missouri). I was thinking I cold get 65-70 after fixing it. Still sound crazy?
 

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94 ETC,97 STS
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That's not a terrible price but not a good price. I know you said you don't have time to wait but I'd be cautious on this one. Can you truly get $6500? It might make more sense if you wanted it for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Your implication is right on, I never know for sure if I can get the right price; it's always a gamble. By the way, the true KBB for St. Louis (where I am) is $8100.

There are 2 other mitigating factors here.
1) I already have a 94 SLS ($130K, almost excellent shape, just small paint chips) that I bought for $1000 (KBB $4100). It's giving some white smoke and overheats occasionally. Since I'll be pulling/timeserting that one, I'll be over the 'first-time' hump. Obviously the 2nd one (the 97 STS) will be easier/faster.
2) Although I may not make as much as I'd like, I'm using these cars to train my 11 yo step-son to do car work. It's a great way to further our relationship, to further develop desirable character traits (e.g. persistence, resourcefulness - to handle the inevitable difficulties) and it'll allow him to buy a car when he's 14 and have it fixed and ready to drive when he's 16. One other bonus, albeit a relatively minor one, is that the N* has been remove drecently so I'll have no stuck/frozen bolts!
So, I'm almost certain that worst case would be breaking even on $. Best case would be the guys didn't timesert the whole block, so I'll pull it, have it done right/completely (for less than .... $400, pre the other posts) and have less than $1K in parts. So, $4K total should bring some profit.

I'd love to keep this one - it may be the most appealing car I've seen. However, I have 6 children (ages 4-14, my true loves), so a 5-seater just doesn't work right now!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have an update to the condition of this car, but I think I'll post a new message to gegt a fresh start. It'll be titled 97 STS, low compression in all left bank cyls

thanks
 

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1998 Seville STS
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Don't get stuck on one car. I know how this can draw you in. There are many, many Sevilles available. Buy the best one you can afford and there may be only a modest price difference beteween a truly nice one you can drive for years and a rough one you'll spend all your time working on. It's true you can learn a lot by working on old cars, but the Seville is relatively difficult and expensive to work on for the new, home mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, I know what you're saying. In fact, I've walked away from others (e.g. convertibles). But this car is ~5K under KBB value, and worst case has me spending ~2.5K in parts. I'm not exactly a new mechanic - it's just that my last rebuild involved 4-barrel carbs, distributors, converting a Powerglide 63 Impala to a Muncie 4-speed, etc. In other words, I've been out of the game a bit. Now that I have real tools (e.g. air compressor) and that wonderful thing called the Internet, it's a whole new ballgame.

And .... I bought a 94 SLS 2 weeks ago ($1K, 140K, very nice in and out) that ran but had some overheating issues, white smoke, yada yada yada. Drove it 30 miles to my home though. And it still runs. And yes, it's the head gaket. Compression test results: #1,2,4,6,7,8 were all 120 first stroke, then 190-210 after 4; But #s 3 and 5 were 105 first stroke, 170 after 4. So, this N* comes out also.

So, it's not just the 97 that sucked me in .... ! I'd keep these except that with a family of 8, I'd have to let the kids ride on the roof. They'd love it, mom would probably shoot me.
 
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