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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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You don't need the GM/Northstar part number original purge hose - use a suitable length of reinforced rubber fuel hose and two band clamps. Be mindful of the plastic surge tank nipple, and rod out the hollow bolt/nipple in the water crossover. That line should flow a small stream into the surge tank at all times.
 

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1998 Seville STS
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter #22
GM,
So I stopped by a shop on my way home, where a mechanic who is familiar with Northstars plus did work on the STS owns. I told him the story, & he can do the block as well as some other tests regarding the head gasket, but first thing to try is to change the oil and look for coolant... He said it's the best and quickest way to make that determination, plus would give one piece of mind. He also felt pretty strongly, that there was no head gasket issue, because if there are was especially in this heat currently here in New Jersey, the car would have been overheating by now, and after a 16 mile trip home, it did not. Thoughts? Dump and check the oil?

Thanks,
Serge
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Enough. I quit. Fix it yourself.
 

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2003 Deville Base
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5,149 Posts
Serge, are you even reading and understanding the responses from Sub, Bass, and Ranger? They are giving you facts. Your "mechanics" are giving you guesses either because have no clue, or they just want to get in your wallet.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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YUP - I'm with Sub -

you don't seem to be reading our responses anyhow -

good luck
 

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1998 Seville STS
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter #27 (Edited)
GM,
I have been reading your responses, but you need to understand, I am not a car guy with a cool set of tools, or even a garage for that matter. So whenever I have to get work done, I have to hire someone to do so. That's the beauty of the free market system, someone offers to complete a service that you need, and you pay them to do it, and do it correctly. Finding the right mechanic is the issue.

What I am doing is taking the information you are sharing with me, processing it, and trying to arm myself with a strategy, that's not only cost effective, but also that I do not get hosed by a mechanic (no pun intended).

So going forward, what I am going to do first, is purchase the BT-500 Mechanics Kit, and see what happens. As for the 75500 Combustion Leak Detector Sub suggested, it looks great, but once again, not being a car or a tools and garage guy, how could I use this when I don't even know where is, or how to even access the radiator cap? Or even how to even begin such a venture, and using what?

Or should I just give it the old college try, and just go ahead simply using a Leatherman multitool, along with a mini maglite poking around the engine of a 22 plus year vehicle following a YT tutorial? Nah..

But I will pick up the BT-500 which states that I can use it off of the coolant tank, so I'm going to try this approach. I am not trying to be snarky either.

Thanks,
Serge
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Serge, you don't need any tools to do a block test to check the head gasket. Don't drain the oil. Buy that test kit you mentioned. For your car you test it at the surge tank reservoir where you add coolant. You just unscrew that cap. These two videos show the whole test. The second one is a Northstar but with the surge tank on the other side:

If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, any chain like NTB, Firestone, Meineke, etc. should be able to do it but you'll probably need to bring them the test kit. Your previous mechanics are suspect; don't go to them.

If you're gonna do the test yourself, do it during the day so you can see well. With the car cold and off, remove the surge tank cap. Put on googles or safety glasses. Start the car, leave it in Park, and watch it idle from 10 feet away for a minute to make sure coolant doesn't shoot out. Then do the block test according to the instructions and the videos. After, if you have any doubt that the fluid is not blue, take photos of the fluid after the test in good light and post a couple here. Then call the closest Cadillac dealership and ask the service department if they will work on your car and/or ask them for a few local recommendations.

The problem people think you have is covered in this video:
His surge tank is on the other side. The quick test for clogging in that hollow bolt is covered in #10 above. Find the hose end at "Coolant Purge Line" here:
https://www.cadillacforums.com/attachments/butt-plug-air-box-2-jpg.584942/
Squeeze the spring hose clamp ends together with your leatherman and pull the hose off the surge tank and point it into an empty soda bottle. From #10:

Also how do I go about checking the purge line?
when the engine is COLD -
the fast and easy method is to simply remove the PURGE LINE from the SERGE TANK -
then start the engine -
there should be a constant - gentle - flow of coolant - possibly mixed with some bubbles of air -
NOTE -
the purge line is too short to stick into the serge tank -
you will need a container of some sort to collect the coolant IF it does flow -
 

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2003 Deville Base
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That's the beauty of the free market system, someone offers to complete a service that you need, and you pay them to do it, and do it correctly. Finding the right mechanic is the issue.
the beauty here is that you're getting the combined experience of several professionals FOR FREE. They aren't paid and have absolutely no reason to be here except to help others. Go over Post #28 several times, then do it.
 

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1998 Seville STS
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter #30
GM,
Here is the latest update. Well I picked up the block test kit pictured above and indicated in my last post, and it came back, drumroll please.... YELLOW....

We performed it twice, and it returned the same result.... This was quite a bummer, I was praying for blue, dreading the possibility of brown, but yellow pulled off a surprise win.

So my question is to you all is what's next? What is my next step? Toss the dice and try some of that snake oil in a bottle, or off to auction?


Thanks,
Serge
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
Joined
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19,854 Posts
GM,
Here is the latest update. Well I picked up the block test kit pictured above and indicated in my last post, and it came back, drumroll please.... YELLOW....

We performed it twice, and it returned the same result.... This was quite a bummer, I was praying for blue, dreading the possibility of brown, but yellow pulled off a surprise win.

So my question is to you all is what's next? What is my next step? Toss the dice and try some of that snake oil in a bottle, or off to auction?


Thanks,
Serge
======================
the NEXT step DEPENDS on a few thins -

1) how much do you LOVE the car?

2) what ELSE does the car need to be 100% reliable for the next 3 years -
tires - brakes - suspension - etc -

3) what condition is the BODY and PAINT in?
not scratch on it - and paint shines like new?
OR - lots of rust and paint pealing off in sheets?

4) what condition is the interior in?
seats look brand new?
OR it has a cheap set of walmart seat covers over the torn up upholstery?

5) do you still ENJOY driving the car?
can you imaging driving it for another 3+ years?
OR - would you RATHER drive something/anything else?

NOW COMES THE IMPORTANT STUFF -

what is your car worth NOW? ( $500 - $750)
how much to PROPERLY fix the motor ( $2500 - we know a guy )
how much would it cost to fix EVERYTHING ELSE it needs? ( $1500 )
add all those costs together -
what could you buy for THAT amount of money? ( $5000 )
 

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1998 Seville STS
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter #32
Thanks Bass,
The car has 100K original miles, and is very clean, but I can't justify spending $2,500.00 on a car that's 20 plus years old. Even if I had it and was willing to, that still doesn't address that yes then the engine is fixed, but everything else is still 22 years old. That means every screw, washer, wire, etc. within the car as a whole. As of right now, it's working properly, it's not eating coolant nor leaking it. A quick question, how long before this leak becomes a serious issue, what's the basic time frame before it completely poops out?

I may try this product just to get some more time out of it as I try to decide what would be the replacement:


There seems to be quite a bit of Northstar users that have used this, and have been pretty happy with the results. I also know the old mantra, "If it's too good to be true, you can bet it's not", but then again what does one have to lose..

It's a shame, and to be perfectly honest, I am surprised that there hasn't been a class action lawsuit against Cadillac for this issue. They surely knew about it, but apparently looked the other way than to address it. I could be wrong, since I haven't been able to find anything on this issue from a legal standpoint online yet.

Thanks,
Serge
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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ANY internal combustion engine is potentially subject to head gasket failures for any number of reasons.

Most of us are against snake oils and magic fixes, but it's your car. Just be honest with a future potential buyer and inform them of what you did.

A 1998 STS in decent condition is well worth maintaining. If a failed strut/shock or heater blower at XXX,XXX miles is normal maintenance, then what is a head gasket job ? My STS is close to the 20 model year age and, if it develops problems then I'll fix it. Normal vehicle ownership. It seems that most owners know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

The "class action" thing - GM went to a pressure casting block procedure at the start of the 2000 model year as part of the ongoing Northstar update development. Late 2002 saw changes in head bolt threads and depth.

End rant.
 

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Those GM tabs you grind up and put into cooling system are in far more caddy engines than you think....
K-seal makes a good block sealer and it's only 15-16 bucks.
Blue Devil has Pour n Go which is capatible with coolant but you HAVE to pour it is SLOWLY and the large 1qt block seal but it has to be added to water in system only for treatment.
I have used both with very positive results. Pour n Go sealed up a 3400 head gasket leak in a Monte Carlo and my friend drove it for months before trading it in.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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The tablets were discontinued in 2006 - no longer part of (Northstar) cooling system coolant exchange maintenance. Service manuals and radiator sight shield stickers were never updated so the only way to know this is a TSB search or dealership info.

The kicker with the earlier Northstars is that the head bolt hole threads in the cylinder block begin to fail (corrode) and so the bolts lose clamping pressure and the gasket (fire ring) eventually fails, thus allowing the softer woven gasket fabric to erode. You might stop the initial leak for a while but the bolts keep pulling and more leaks occur. Best to repair the problem correctly.

Not a Northstar gasket but the terminology is the same -

anatomy_of_a_headgasket.jpg
 

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The tablets were discontinued in 2006 - no longer part of (Northstar) cooling system coolant exchange maintenance. Service manuals and radiator sight shield stickers were never updated so the only way to know this is a TSB search or dealership info.

The kicker with the earlier Northstars is that the head bolt hole threads in the cylinder block begin to fail (corrode) and so the bolts lose clamping pressure and the gasket (fire ring) eventually fails, thus allowing the softer woven gasket fabric to erode. You might stop the initial leak for a while but the bolts keep pulling and more leaks occur. Best to repair the problem correctly.

Not a Northstar gasket but the terminology is the same -

View attachment 585522
I am well aware of how head gaskets fail as I have replaced a good number of them in my years. I'm also aware of the Northstar Thread issues.
Those tablets didn't just start with the Northstars. They were used widely on the 4.9 before because those had their fair share of head gasket problems.
Bars leak still sells some similar large tablets that you grind up but I was never a fan of these tablets or powdered style anyway.
It's always best to fix the problem right but that's off then expensive or very time consuming.
If I'm going to try to doctor something for the short to medium-term I prefer to use something like K-seal or one of the Blue Devil products. I have had great results with those with leaky head gaskets or cracked heads.
 
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