twigs76

1997 SLS Head Gasket Repair

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Just bought a 97' SLS with 60,000 miles on for $1000.00. Very nice condition with the exception that I am 100% sure a head gasket has failed due to the steam coming from the exhaust. I have already purchased a complete gasket set. After reading several threads from this forum I am going to wait until I find out if and how many head bolt threads have failed. If I find that there has been a failure I have decided to purchase the suregrip head bolt kit from NorthStar Performance. I guess my biggest question is about engine removal. Is it necessary? If so is it possible to remove engine from the top, or is it easier to remove the engine from the bottom. Also, if there is anyone who has used the suregrip bolt kit from NorthStar perfomance, any input would be appreciated on this subject as well.

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It CAN be done in the car, but is much harder and not recommended. The engine CAN be removed from the top, but again is harder and not recommended, though I believe Jake (Northstar Performance) does it that way. Not sure if anyone here has done it, but there are several people at cadillacforums.com that have used the stud kit.

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hope you have good luck with yours. I also have a 97 SLS that had 100000 miles and it went. Runs great now, I highly recommend replacing the intake while you have everything apart

post-12985-130379351475_thumb.jpg


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First, steam out the tailpipes is not an indication of a bad headgasket. It could be weather related - cold damp mornings will make for more steam out of the exhaust.

Is the car overheating when driven hard? Is the purge line and bolt clear? Do a search in the archives and study the purge circuit in the cooling system.

If proper diagnosois determines that the head gaskets are bad, repair all 20 holes, not hust the ones that have failed. If you are going to use studs, you will need to remove the engine as the rear head won't fit over the studs with the engine in the car.

mikeofalltrades69 likes this

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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hope you have good luck with yours. I also have a 97 SLS that had 100000 miles and it went. Runs great now, I highly recommend replacing the intake while you have everything apart

Thanks, Good looking car.

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First, steam out the tailpipes is not an indication of a bad headgasket. It could be weather related - cold damp mornings will make for more steam out of the exhaust.

Is the car overheating when driven hard? Is the purge line and bolt clear? Do a search in the archives and study the purge circuit in the cooling system.

If proper diagnosois determines that the head gaskets are bad, repair all 20 holes, not hust the ones that have failed. If you are going to use studs, you will need to remove the engine as the rear head won't fit over the studs with the engine in the car.

Thanks, though I am sure it is a head gasket. It steams like a steam locomotive. As for the cold damp mornings, I live in the Texes Panhandle and can't remember the last time we had a damp anything, lol. Have not driven it but from the previous owners house to mine. As for the info on the rear head I plan to use the bolt kit from northstar performance. So I gather you do feel it would be possible to do it in the car?

mikeofalltrades69 likes this

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First, steam out the tailpipes is not an indication of a bad headgasket. It could be weather related - cold damp mornings will make for more steam out of the exhaust.

Is the car overheating when driven hard? Is the purge line and bolt clear? Do a search in the archives and study the purge circuit in the cooling system.

If proper diagnosois determines that the head gaskets are bad, repair all 20 holes, not hust the ones that have failed. If you are going to use studs, you will need to remove the engine as the rear head won't fit over the studs with the engine in the car.

Thanks, though I am sure it is a head gasket. It steams like a steam locomotive. As for the cold damp mornings, I live in the Texes Panhandle and can't remember the last time we had a damp anything, lol. Have not driven it but from the previous owners house to mine. As for the info on the rear head I plan to use the bolt kit from northstar performance. So I gather you do feel it would be possible to do it in the car?

Northstar Performance sells studs - with studs, you cannot do the repair with the engine in the car as you would not be able to get the rear head over the studs for installation without hitting the firewall - there is not enough clearance.

With Timeserts and new head bolts, it is possible to do the repair with the engine in the car but I would never try it. There are so many fasteners that are at wierd angles, it is easier to pull the engine and work on it while it is on an engine stand. In fact, once you remove the heads, timing chains, etc., you're 20 mins away from pulling the block anyway and it makes it so much easier to work on with the engine on a stand. You will also want to re-seal the lower end with is not possible with the engine in the car unless you remove the transmission.

The machining process generates a LOT of aluminum shavings - you do not want any of that getting into the oil passages.

Pulling the engine from the top has its difficulties - there is a bolt that attaches a brace to the rear head that is an absolute SOB to get back on... The brace runs inbetween the pipes of the rear exhaust manifold.


Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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This is what the block looks like with STUDS there is NO WAY you can get a head ON or OFF with the engine installed in the car there is no clearance. This photo is from NS Performance

studkit1.jpg


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How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I am in the process of doing head gaskets with the north star performance stud kit . Order your kit now! It took me 1 month, to get it. Just finished the back 2 day its a long process but im sure it will be worth it. Just take your time and do just what the instructions says.

Edited by johnnyjaws

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First, steam out the tailpipes is not an indication of a bad headgasket. It could be weather related - cold damp mornings will make for more steam out of the exhaust.

Is the car overheating when driven hard? Is the purge line and bolt clear? Do a search in the archives and study the purge circuit in the cooling system.

If proper diagnosois determines that the head gaskets are bad, repair all 20 holes, not hust the ones that have failed. If you are going to use studs, you will need to remove the engine as the rear head won't fit over the studs with the engine in the car.

Thanks, though I am sure it is a head gasket. It steams like a steam locomotive. As for the cold damp mornings, I live in the Texes Panhandle and can't remember the last time we had a damp anything, lol. Have not driven it but from the previous owners house to mine. As for the info on the rear head I plan to use the bolt kit from northstar performance. So I gather you do feel it would be possible to do it in the car?

Northstar Performance sells studs - with studs, you cannot do the repair with the engine in the car as you would not be able to get the rear head over the studs for installation without hitting the firewall - there is not enough clearance.

With Timeserts and new head bolts, it is possible to do the repair with the engine in the car but I would never try it. There are so many fasteners that are at wierd angles, it is easier to pull the engine and work on it while it is on an engine stand. In fact, once you remove the heads, timing chains, etc., you're 20 mins away from pulling the block anyway and it makes it so much easier to work on with the engine on a stand. You will also want to re-seal the lower end with is not possible with the engine in the car unless you remove the transmission.

The machining process generates a LOT of aluminum shavings - you do not want any of that getting into the oil passages.

Pulling the engine from the top has its difficulties - there is a bolt that attaches a brace to the rear head that is an absolute SOB to get back on... The brace runs inbetween the pipes of the rear exhaust manifold.

Thanks for the help. I am in the process of securing a location with a car lift so that engine removal from underneath will be possible. hopefully with a little luck it will be possible. If not, I guess that I will have to take the long road. One again I appreciate your helpfullness on the subject.

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I am in the process of doing head gaskets with the north star performance stud kit . Order your kit now! It took me 1 month, to get it. Just finished the back 2 day its a long process but im sure it will be worth it. Just take your time and do just what the instructions says.

Hey johnny,

Have you finished your car yet? If so , I was just wondering how it turned out. Just ordered my head studs from northstar performance on friday. Hope it doesn't take a month to get them. Jake indicated that it was going to ship the following monday, I hope he can back it up.

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Yes turned out great! motor runs like a raped ape! just take your time drilling out the threads if not perfictly strate studs will be crooked and head wont go on over the studs. When you get the kit take the tap , on it there is a black line on it for depth that line will rub off as you use it get a hack saw or grinder and cut that mark onto the tap orther wise you wont get the same depth in each hole you do.I have alot of pics to show everyone put cant get them up. Ill try again good luck and let us know how it gos I took my motor out from the bottom in my car port. Jacked the front up with jack stands came right out then i dragged the motor&trans on the subframe from out under the car with my 4 wheeler.

Edited by johnnyjaws

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Yes turned out great! motor runs like a raped ape! just take your time drilling out the threads if not perfictly strate studs will be crooked and head wont go on over the studs. When you get the kit take the tap , on it there is a black line on it for depth that line will rub off as you use it get a hack saw or grinder and cut that mark onto the tap orther wise you wont get the same depth in each hole you do.I have alot of pics to show everyone put cant get them up. Ill try again good luck and let us know how it gos I took my motor out from the bottom in my car port. Jacked the front up with jack stands came right out then i dragged the motor&trans on the subframe from out under the car with my 4 wheeler.

I use photobucket to upload photos, very easy


GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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I also use Photobucket...

Really easy to upload photos then...


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I am in the process of doing head gaskets with the north star performance stud kit . Order your kit now! It took me 1 month, to get it. Just finished the back 2 day its a long process but im sure it will be worth it. Just take your time and do just what the instructions says.

You are right johnny, it is taking a month of Sunday's to get the kit from Northstar Performance. It impossibleto get someone on the phone and Jake took over a week just to return my phone call. I sure hope these bolts are worth putting up with the total lack of service on Northstar Performance's part. The Pony Express could've delivered these twice buy now, and I live in Texas. lol.

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Ikept calling him and emailing him till i got someone i wasnt going to pay a $100.00 for overnight shipping in the mean time i cleaned up all the parts and the engine compartment. ITS WORTH THE WAIT MY MOTOR RUNS NEW NOW.

.

Edited by johnnyjaws

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hope you have good luck with yours. I also have a 97 SLS that had 100000 miles and it went. Runs great now, I highly recommend replacing the intake while you have everything apart

Thanks, Good looking car.

thanks. Honestly I was intimidated with doing it myself on my Seville because of the condition so I let the dealer do it. I wouldnt do it again but the car was definately worth it.

If my Devilles ever goes I wat to tackle it myself though, but even with almost 200000 miles it runs strong as ever, and I drive it hard all the time


GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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"Pulling the engine from the top has its difficulties - there is a bolt that attaches a brace to the rear head that is an absolute SOB to get back on... The brace runs in between the pipes of the rear exhaust manifold."

Dear KHE: Please tell me what I need to know about this 'bracket.' I have such a bracket and its fasteners left over and so far we have been unable to recollect (or to figure out) from whence it came. This car is a 1997 Eldorado ETC. A head gasket failed at 160,000 miles. We pulled the engine through the top, sent it to a local shop to build it back up with Northstar Performance studs. The extra bracket is a tube about 3/4 diameter with a bend in it, slot on one end and a tab with a hole on the other.

This was our first Northstar and for my SAAB/BMW Master mechanic, the last. Neither of us is particularly fond of stuff left over of course.

That said the engine is smooth, powerful and is producing 25 mpg at 75 miles per. Naturally one EXPECTS such from a 300 hp Northstar.

Regards, Porkie

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"Pulling the engine from the top has its difficulties - there is a bolt that attaches a brace to the rear head that is an absolute SOB to get back on... The brace runs in between the pipes of the rear exhaust manifold."

Dear KHE: Please tell me what I need to know about this 'bracket.' I have such a bracket and its fasteners left over and so far we have been unable to recollect (or to figure out) from whence it came. This car is a 1997 Eldorado ETC. A head gasket failed at 160,000 miles. We pulled the engine through the top, sent it to a local shop to build it back up with Northstar Performance studs. The extra bracket is a tube about 3/4 diameter with a bend in it, slot on one end and a tab with a hole on the other.

This was our first Northstar and for my SAAB/BMW Master mechanic, the last. Neither of us is particularly fond of stuff left over of course.

That said the engine is smooth, powerful and is producing 25 mpg at 75 miles per. Naturally one EXPECTS such from a 300 hp Northstar.

Regards, Porkie

Porkie,

The brace is about six inches long with a slight bend. The end with the round hole mounts to the head. It braces the rear head against the block and passes between the exhaust manifold pipes. It is easiest to lower the front of the engine cradle in order to access the bolt.


Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Many thanks, Kevin. I'm going to try and get someone working on that bracket tomorrow.

I have another issue that needs tidying up. The fans are not coming on after the engine is shut down,to cool things down after running. The engine is NOT over heating. It is dumping coolant as a result. The fans in my other cars come on and off as needed, whether or not the key is on.

Any counsel for me on this issue?

Regards, Porkie

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