Last post on Dec 04, 2013 at 1:04 PM
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Cadillac DeVille, Sedan
#2564 of 2635 Re: 2001 Cadillac Deville Head Gasket - $10.000.00 [chrisptown1]
Aug 12, 2011 (11:48 pm)
The head gasket problem is there for all Northstars. In about 2000 or so, Cadillac did some minor redesign, they changed the thread count, and I think increased the length of the head bolts. This supposedly helped the problem. But, this last guy has a 2001, so it is still there.
The problem is this is an alumium engine and head. Alumium is soft, compaired to iron, and probably also goes thru expansion and contraction more than iron. So the head bolts basically fail. When doing repairs, mechanics report that thread on the bolts near the place where coolant is blowing by the gasket have metal on them. And also report that bolts that are not 'pulled' usually cannot be re-torqued down correctly, will strip the holes. This is the reason that you cannot just put a new gasket on a Northstar and fix it.
Also, unlike some motors with head gasket failures, Northstars do NOT put coolant into the oil. It puts combustion gasses, at huge temperatures, into the coolant. Which will quickly overheat the car. A Cadallic with overheating problems (and not having usual leaking problem) almost always will have a blown head gasket. And a car in the 90's is not worth fixing. Salvage it out.
The repair is to pull the motor, to get to the rear head motor surface, overdrill the head bolt holes, rethread these holes and screw in steel 'inserts'. These inserts are threaded inside to the orginial size and threads, then put the head back on with all new bolts. From what I've heard, this solves the problem. Caddy dealers do not have the 'machine shop' equipment or skills to do this. There has to be a motor machine shop that knows how to do this repair. There is a 'kit' sold with a template to drill the holes and the inserts. It isn't expensive, last I heard it was $350, but the cost is labor to pull and reinstall the motor and the machine shop time. The costs for this has been around $3,000.
A dealer that says there may be other damage, is usually BSing. Other than the head gaskets, a Northstar is very strong. At 100,000 miles or so there usually is little wear on the cam chains, the cylinder bores look like new, ete, etc. The heads are also in great shape. Cadillac just cannot get this motor to hold the bolts. The design probably does not allow significantly longer or larger head bolts.
The Northstar came out in about 1993 or 94, in the Allante (sp). And the problem quickly became known. The real sad thing is Cadillac could build the motor with the steel inserts. In my reading about the problem, I've never heard a reason why they have not done this. No need to do it now, I think the Northstar is no longer used, or this is the last year or so of it.
My wife thinks she has to have a Cadillac. I always carry an extended warranty on them. I've not had a head gasket failure, but our current 2005 with 57,000 miles is the highest milage one we've had. When the extended warranty ends, the car is leaving my place. And, we have had quite a lot of other failures on them.
I just googled the problem, and there are other people with $10,000 dealer estimates to fix this problem. So, I guess this is the cost for a new motor and dealer labor to install it. Most people try to find a wrecked car and transfer a complete motor. Last I knew, only about one place in US is 'rebuilding' Northstars. Don't know what they want for a motor.
#2565 of 2635 Re: 2001 Cadillac Deville Head Gasket - $10.000.00 [bolivar]
Aug 13, 2011 (5:13 am)
thanks, my '05 Deville has 70K, ext. war. ends at 75k. i have some thinking to do. it has been trouble free for my 2ys of ownership, i'd hate to get rid of it. but don't want to face head gasket issue either.
#2566 of 2635 Re: 2001 Cadillac Deville Head Gasket - $10.000.00 [chrisptown1]
Aug 14, 2011 (3:06 am)
Well, they don't all have gasket problem. But it's a known problem, and reported often in Cadillac forums.
Our 2005 has had several problems. Heat did not work until turned up to 80 or higher. Replaced two or three 'servos' (electric motors that open/close flaps) and the dash display/control head (three times in shop). It worked ok for about a year, it's now doing it again. Front impact sensor failed. A tire pressure senor failed. Engine miss, one of two coils replaced.Driver window regulator broke. Direction signal in outside mirror failed. Crossover pipe gasket leak coolant (pretty major, kept car for a couple of days, have to take a lot off to get to it.) The driver's seat is starting to fail, it shutters when moving back and forth. My wife drives the car for lots of short hops around town, so the seat is constantly going to exit position and back. This is going to have to be fixed sometime soon.
It's a lease car, we bought it with 38,000 miles in 2007 I think. I would never buy a new one, they lose a ton of depreciation money quickly.
Even with all this, I probably haven't gotten my money for the extended warranty back.
#2567 of 2635 Good Coolant Maintenance Important
Aug 14, 2011 (8:29 am)
I also have a 2005 DeVille with just over 50K. I bought it new and have had the DexCool changed
twice. First time at 30K-3yrs old. Second just recently at 50K- 3yrs. Don't believe the 5yr- 150K stuff.
The head gasket problem can still occur with good maintenance, but it will surely occur with bad
maintenance. It is also important to make sure the DexCool level is correct. Air in the system is bad !
So far I have been fortunate. I have not really had problems with this car.
#2568 of 2635 Re: 2001 Cadillac Deville Head Gasket - $10.000.00 [chrisptown1]
Aug 15, 2011 (2:38 pm)
I was in denial,that i have a head gasket issue,but it finally went to where i can,t drive it anymore after 3 months,luckilly i got home before it happened and not between New York and Boston.I lost more than half of what i put into the car-96 Deville.Someone that likes the car gave me a little under $600 for it,i was lucky because i heard it was worthless for it takes more to fix than it,s worth.Well this is my only and last Northstar until i can afford a 05 or newer model which i heard GM finally resolved that issue?For now i got a Riviera with GM,s bulletproof 3.8 motor!
#2569 of 2635 Re: 2001 Cadillac Deville Head Gasket - $10.000.00 [brokencadillac]
Aug 20, 2011 (2:50 pm)
$10,000 sounds like baloney to me. I recently looked at a 97 STS 105,000 miles with the Northstar V8 blown head gasket. Mechanics estimate:$2200.
Total engine replacement with 72,000 mile used motor: $3400.
Someone is taking mom for a ride.
#2570 of 2635 Re: 2001 Cadillac Deville Head Gasket - $10.000.00 [oldfarmer50]
Aug 20, 2011 (7:06 pm)
Oldfarmer, I also thought this was out of hand. But googling around, I found a couple of other people with estimates in that area. I think this would be a new Northstar motor, maybe including heads, from Cadillac, and a Caddy dealer doing the labor.
From what I've read about $3,000 is what the cost of a Timesert 'fix' for the headbolts. I don't think I would put $3,400 into a used motor, buying another potential headgasket problem. Especially if it was a 90's model Caddy. These are $3,000 cars, at the best.
If I was caught up in this, I would try to find someone to do the Timesert fix.
#2571 of 2635 Re: 2001 Cadillac Deville Head Gasket - $10.000.00 [bolivar]
Aug 21, 2011 (4:27 pm)
"...These are $3000 cars at best..."
Edmunds valued the one I looked at as a $2700 car so you are dead on. Seller wanted $1500 so the figures just didn't add up. This was several months ago and the car is still on his lawn. I swear that last time I went by, there was a cardboard sign in the window which said: "FREE"
Such a shame, the car was a beautiful gold color with creame interior. What was GM thinking designing the heads like that?
#2572 of 2635 Re: 2001 Cadillac Deville Head Gasket - $10.000.00 [oldfarmer50]
Aug 21, 2011 (9:55 pm)
I can see a design problem showing up later. About the lowest milage I've read about was in the 40,000 mile range. There probably just wasn't enough testing to bring out the problem when the motor was developed.
But, by 95, 96 models the problem seemed to be very obvious. And this Timesert company had developed the 'kit' to fix the problem, and Cadillac had service documents that specifically called for using the kit for the fix. The kit comes with a template that is bolted to a head with the old bolts. There are holes in the template that are used to overdrill and rethread all the bolt holes. A steel insert which cannot be screwed out, is screwed in, with Locktite. This supposed is a permanent fix. Timesert sells just the inserts if a shop already has the template from a previous job. Standard new headbolts are then used to put the head back on.
Why Caddillac did not produce motors with steel inserts after it became a known problem is the big question.
#2573 of 2635 Re: in dying need of help [bolivar]
Sep 23, 2011 (7:22 am)
I have a 99 Deville I bought cheap at a car auction. It had 2 blown head gaskets which at the dealer would have cost me about $4000 to repair. That is about the cost of a new engine. Bolivar is correct in the major part of that kind of repair is mostly labor. But if the heads are cracked due to excessive heat damage, then you are looking at replacing heads also. My mechanic told me i would be better off finding another engine. He found a wrecked Deville that had been rear ended at the wreck yard. The engine was still in pretty good shape and it cost about $400 and about that much to install in my car. A couple hundred bucks for a new radiator and I had a good running Caddy for less than a thousand.