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02 Deville, 99 deville - both Adriatic Blue
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Im always get nervous reading all of these horror stories about head gaskets, but I did a search on autotrader just to see how many cadillacs were out there with head gasket problems, and it just seems like they're here and there but definitely not epidemic. Theres a lot for sale with around 200,000 miles on them that (supposedly) run great. I haven't had many problems I couldn't fix myself in over a year of ownership of a 96 eldorado. Also, it seems like a lot of northstars that do blow head gaskets do so around 70,000-80,000 mile range because a lot of these adds indicate that the engines were replaced around that mileage.
 

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'87 Jeep, '10 Thruxton, '00 Duc 748, '01 748R (853cc)
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Head gaskets failures aren't really dependent on mileage. They aren't really all that dependent on driving style either. Like anything, there are always a few that just happen to go bad. I've heard of some that blew with 30-40k miles, and I've heard other that went at least 150k miles before a head gasket failure. Like you said, it really is hit or miss wether or not the head gasket goes. In most, if not all cases, the engines can be repaired using a Timesert kit to repair the headbolt thread. Once replaced, most headgasket repairs never fail again once done correctly.
 

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danbuc said:
Head gaskets failures aren't really dependent on mileage. They aren't really all that dependent on driving style either. Like anything, there are always a few that just happen to go bad. I've heard of some that blew with 30-40k miles, and I've heard other that went at least 150k miles before a head gasket failure. Like you said, it really is hit or miss wether or not the head gasket goes. In most, if not all cases, the engines can be repaired using a Timesert kit to repair the headbolt thread. Once replaced, most headgasket repairs never fail again once done correctly.
Right on Danbuc... I would add that every make/engine has its problems... The real issue with Northstars and their head gaskets is that they are difficult and expensive to replace... This comes from squeezing a DOHC V8 into a front driver...

Further if your looking for reliability DO NOT search Lexus and Sludge and DO NOT search BMW and electrical....Etc... Etc..
 

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I wouldn't really consider the headgasket failure as a "reliability" issue anyway. Something liek that is usually considered a day to day thing, not like the headgasket which is kind of a one time thing. As far as reliability, the Northstar really doesn't require much effort to maintain, and keep running in great shape. Unless the head gasket should fail, there isn't a whole lot that can kill these engines. Also, how many other engines out there are still somewhat driveable with a bad head gasket.
 

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Let's face it, the "typical" headgasket story is a "horror" for one and one reason only: the enormous cost. Sometimes, tragically, the repair cost exceeds the value of an otherwise fine vehicle.

Two things to keep in mind: headgasket failures are rare in Northstar engines, AND THIS IS THAT SORT OF PLACE YOU WILL HEAR ABOUT THEM!

It is simply wrongheaded to think it commonplace for Northstars to self-destruct simply because you've heard so much about it here. Where else would you expect to hear so much about it? On the Lexus forum? On the BMW forum? In the grand scheme of things it remains rare. The evidence is contrary (except here, anecdotally). These beasts go 200,000 miles without a wimper if properly maintained.

And THERE, I think, is the point. An AMC Gremlin will likely go 200,000 miles with superb maintainence. A Northstar will go 200,000 with only moderate to poor maintainence. Tender loving care will add milage measures in 10K+ or even 100K+ increments.

Put your fears behind you and maintain it properly. Don't forget that the Northstar was designed to be "driven," and driven HARD. As our gone-but-not-forgotten "guru" was fond of saying, every two or three weeks "drive it like you just stole it!"

Regards,
Warren
 

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soccer_eldorado said:
Im always get nervous reading all of these horror stories about head gaskets, but I did a search on autotrader just to see how many cadillacs were out there with head gasket problems, and it just seems like they're here and there but definitely not epidemic. Theres a lot for sale with around 200,000 miles on them that (supposedly) run great. I haven't had many problems I couldn't fix myself in over a year of ownership of a 96 eldorado. Also, it seems like a lot of northstars that do blow head gaskets do so around 70,000-80,000 mile range because a lot of these adds indicate that the engines were replaced around that mileage.
If my head gasket repair with ThermaGasket holds up, then a Head Gasket repair will only cost you 99.00 plus shipping and handling. RXauto.com

The guy that developed this stuff, buys auctioned cars with blown gaskets at low price, puts ThermaGasket in them, and got nice car for cheap.

I will do followup progress of my vehicle in my post titled, "BARS LEAK HEAD GASKET"
 

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2015 Mazda3 S GT Hatchback 2013 Kia Optima SXL
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Before I bought my Seville, I have never heard of a Northstar head gasket failure. I have only heard good things about them. That is one reason I bought a Cadillac. Once i got on here, I read up on the subject. It really gets blown out of proportion. From all of the bad head gaskets I have read about, it doesn't even come close, to the positives I have heard, and am experiencing. Any engine, can have a head gasket failure, at any time. No engine is immune from that. Some are more prone to it than others. My mom bought a 1986 Mercury Cougar, new in '86. Before the car had 6,000 miles on it (you read the mileage right), it had a wrist pin fail, destroying the engine. Ford replaced the engine, and it went 150,00 more, before mom traded it in. If there were forums back then, you would probably hear about how bad the Ford 3.8 engine was. But un reality, it is a good one. Just a fluke, that the thing blew up.

Northstars are very reliable. With proper maintainance, they will go forever. Neglect the simple stuff, and any engine can fail at an early mileage.

Don
 

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I beat the H*** out of my N* every day.

At some point, I need to purchase more recent car, but my STS refuses to die. I'll run it as hard as possible until it croaks, but it seems to like the abuse! I do the normal oil changes, brake and coolant stuff, but that's about it.

I have a good hook-up w/a local full service car wash, and the damn thing still looks like new, inside and out. Hard to justify another car, when this one runs so well.

CG
99STS 121K
 

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Last month I looked at (and drove for 30 minutes) a '92 Dodge Caravan, a one-owner for sale cheap. Nothing wrong with it, just the old guy had bought himselve a new one. The owner said (and I believed him) he'd never done anything to the engine or transmission, only regular maintenance. That van had 303,000 miles on it !! The engine & transmission ran unbelievably strong.
Regular maintenance.
It was hard to believe, and I think I was scared off by the "odds": with that many miles, something was sure to go wrong soon, eh?
So I'm hoping that with a strategy of regular maintenance, my N* will get at least half as far as that ol' Caravan 3.3
 

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soccer_eldorado said:
Gone but not forgotten guru? Did I miss something. Did someone die?
Up until about mid 2005, we had a regular contributor who was a Northstar powerplant engineer. Most of the technical archive information is from his posts. Circumstances forced him to abrogate his postings on this and other boards. Very mysterious goings-on, from what I understand...creaking sounds in the night, rattling chains, a veiled woman in black, several wizened old Oriental poobahs, and some talk of a mysterious Amazonian nerve agent being served in his soup...

Robert, where ha' ye gone?....
 

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Like it's been said before.. headgaskets can happen to any car. For example, I'ma cadillac guy and my friend is big into BMW's.. 2 weeks ago he buys a 2000 328i with 70k on it for $12,000. I see him on Friday to hear about how the headgasket failed and has already spent almost $700 on repairs and ended up throwing "steel seal" or something like that in there. :rolleyes:
Turns out to fix it right, your looking at 5-6 grand which is more than double some places will do a Northstar for... I think I'll go count my blessings now.
 
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