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Well this year alone I just finished up a 5th 2006 and up DTS with the so called improved 11 x 2.0 thread design. The new style head bolts are loosening up over time and causing overheat issues with a lack of torque on the head bolt. This past car I finished was from Chicago and only had 80K and 6 of the 20 head bolts were loose.

So, the fix is to either install a Norms insert or a 11x1.5 timesert and buying the old style 11 x 1.5 head bolts.

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Do you have information on cooling system maintenance on these cars?

The best information that I can find is that no one changes the coolant on new cars. After they pass five years, acid coolant seepage takes about two more years to get to a head bolt thread or two. Thus the seven-year-old spike in head bolt problems.


CTS-V_Dashboard.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Coolant has been changed and no coolant in the headbolt holes.

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Any idea why the head bolts pulled?


CTS-V_Dashboard.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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It's the newer style 11 x 2.0 thread bolt. The bolts are loosing torque overtime.

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Please explain "losing torque overtime" to me. If by "overtime" you mean the twist angle after initial torquing down, that would mean deformation of the threads, or partial pulling of the head bolts.


CTS-V_Dashboard.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I am actually not very surprised that we are now seeing this on the 2004 and up, and it is not due to GMs or Cadillac's incompetence, poor quality or poor design. It is solely due to the block being made of aluminum, period. There are plusses and minuses to using aluminum and unfortunately pulled head bolts are a minus.

Now some will say, who does he think he is, an engineer? Nope, I just observe, research and conclude from my own experience. Aluminum is a comparatively soft material compared to the old heavy boat anchor cast iron engines where you NEVER had head gasket problems, NEVER. I used to pull heads on 429s, 472s and 500s and had them done over (valve job, lifters, etc) and just bolted them back down with a simple beam torque wrench and I never had a problem.

All one needs to do is to go to timesert.com and see how many manufacturers they make inserts for. I recently saw an episode of amazing or incredible factories and saw how the AMG engine was made, by the way it looks very similar to a Northstar,the block being split at the middle of the crank.

So when I saw these threads at mbworld.org, I said, let me do some research on the AMG engine.

Here are a few threads I found interesting

Just bought my 2007 E63, 57K miles:

Head gasket failure or more likely head bolts failed:

Symptoms:

-Smell the exhaust and it was more sweet than gassy and fumes. Burning coolant

-Open coolant reservoir and you can smell exhaust fumes.

-Coolant loss (started the day I picked the car up)

I did not get milky oil until just last night (final blow to the gasket I suppose) and I parked it not wanting to hydrolock.

Looking at about ~5k I suppose for the HG

______________________________________________________________

The early 63's were unfortunately prone to head gasket failure. Make sure you do studs as well, could be the culprit to the failure. Good luck!

________________________________________________________________

It is public knowledge that the early 63's have this issue on stock form. Im not aware that he has a tune or not.

________________________________________________________________

I have a 2007 s550. It said it needed antifreeze so I added some. Then some leaked out. I haven't had any problems since that. Took it in to dealer .. They told me it needed a new head gasket $2100.

__________________________________________________________________________

Ok. I had a coolant leak on my 2002 C32 with about 60k miles on it. The closest MB dealer is 2 hours away. There is a place close to me that is a "certified MB" service center. So I bring it in, they keep it for 4 or 5 hours and call me back. They say I have a blown head gasket. I thinking "Crap". The guy goes on to tell me that he was at a large MB dealer where his main job was to rebuild engines and this job will probably take about 30 hours and 3800.00

_________________________________________________________________________

I think I made my point and I could go ON and ON, if you would like go to mbworld.org and do a search "head gasket".

I can only say this, when I was a kid, the 330, 390, 429, 472 and even the 500 were junk at 100K, time for rebuild, the tops of the cylinders had a ridge so bad you needed a ridge reamer to get he pistons out. Most of these cars at least my Dads ended up in the junk yard with knocking, oil burning, etc. The Northstar?, at 80K to 120K, you need to rebuild this engine, seals deteriorate, lifters wear (93-99 rubbing element) especially now that SN oils have 800 ppm ZINC and bolts eventually pull as the soft aluminum eventually gives up the ghost. The amazing thing however is that the engine is designed so good that at high mileage, the cross hatch is still visible in the cylinders and there is NO ridge. Simply, tear down the engine, check tolerances, replace what needs replacing, reseal, and drive it like you stole it. This engine is a work of art, and it needs rebuilding just like everything else that wears.

I do not find it surprising that the 2004 and newer are showing signs of head gasket problems these are high revving, high compression, high performance engines that are in vehicles that are amazing with their electronics and conveniences and there is a wide range of possibilities, the cushy long trip Devilles, the sporty ETC two doors or the larger "family performance" STSs. What to do, spend $3500 for a rebuilt engine or $55,000 for a new car?, seems clear to me! That is my two cents.


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >> http://z-cut.de/US/dtcobd1.html

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> http://carprogrammer.com/Z28/PCM/OBD2/On-BoardDiagnosticTroubleCodes(OBD-II).mht

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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Im not inclined to disagree with you, however, how many LS engines are out there that have avoided that? Its not a regular topic on their forums.

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Im not inclined to disagree with you, however, how many LS engines are out there that have avoided that? Its not a regular topic on their forums.

I hear you and that thought crossed my mind, it could be the design of the head, its not 32 valve, size, bolt length, etc. But it is interesting to note that timesert does sell kits for the LS and LS9 engines. If there was NO demand, I doubt they would waste the time.

http://www.timesert.com/html/gm.html


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >> http://z-cut.de/US/dtcobd1.html

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> http://carprogrammer.com/Z28/PCM/OBD2/On-BoardDiagnosticTroubleCodes(OBD-II).mht

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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Cadillac Jim, the threads on these newer engines are great, not pulling at all! The coarse thread pitch and over the years of expansion and contracting metal and a head gasket possibly, the bolt is loosing its initial torque. The last DTS 07' I had a couple weeks ago I could break some of the headbolts loose with a 3/8 rachet.

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Cadillac Jim, the threads on these newer engines are great, not pulling at all! The coarse thread pitch and over the years of expansion and contracting metal and a head gasket possibly, the bolt is loosing its initial torque. The last DTS 07' I had a couple weeks ago I could break some of the headbolts loose with a 3/8 rachet.

[/quote

This is contrary to what I would have thought. So how is it losing its torque? Can't be compression of the head gasket. It must be the bolts losing their stretch or the threads pulling slightly to lessen the torque. You noted that you use Norms or timesert at this point.

Very interesting, so what you are saying is that when you back out all 20 head bolts you don't see ANY aluminum on their threads?


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >> http://z-cut.de/US/dtcobd1.html

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> http://carprogrammer.com/Z28/PCM/OBD2/On-BoardDiagnosticTroubleCodes(OBD-II).mht

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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My 2cents worth -

One thing that always struck me was that no one realized way back in the beginning of the design stage of the 4.1, was the different expansion rates of dis-similar metals - cast iron heads and aluminum block and yes even the intake manifold. GM improved the failure rate of the 4.5 and 4.9 by using thicker HG and IM gaskets. I double-gasketed both HG's on a 4.1 for Cadillac as an experiment ( no that didn't work ). The point is - they new about the problem and wanted a solution that would cost the least amount of money to correct and last for the 50k miles of the warranty. The bolts were still a dis-similar metal with a different expansion rate and they went to a torque angle to improve holding and gasket compression.

This brings us to the NS - now we have similar metals for block and heads but we still have basically the same head bolts and the same issue. As BBF pointed out the engine should be rebuilt at 100K miles. The factory never designed the engine to last longer than the warranty - sorry, I know this for a fact. I have personally talked to factory reps.

One more thing to point out is that the majority of the NS's that have reached "high mileage" before they fail, is that they share one thing in common - lots of highway miles - fewer expansion/contraction cycles equal longer mileage.

You can agree or dis-agree - it is only my opinion, I'm entitled to that. I don't intend to tarnish the reputation of Cadillac, I love Cadillacs for what they are and the standard of comfort that they set at a high level for the industry to "shoot" for. It probably wasn't that long ago that you heard someone say "it rides like a Cadillac". I wouldn't have worked on them for so long or be on a site like CaddyInfo if I didn't like them . Do I have proof of the conversations with Cadillac factory reps - NO - I simply lived it.....

Edited by OldCadTech

THERE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH TIME TO DO THE JOB RIGHT - THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH TIME TO DO THE JOB AGAIN !!!

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OldCadTech, we are not the attacking type here at caddyinfo, in your last paragraph you seem to be being apologetic for your opinion. We are all pretty positive members here. I know you are a new member but all opinions are welcome unless they are troll like and bashing of gm, the NS or Cadillac then we go nuts :-) (at least I do) .

This is a great engine, and with any mechanical device rebuilds are necessary, even the space shuttle, F22, F16, 727s, etc.


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >> http://z-cut.de/US/dtcobd1.html

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> http://carprogrammer.com/Z28/PCM/OBD2/On-BoardDiagnosticTroubleCodes(OBD-II).mht

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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OldCadTech, we are not the attacking type here at caddyinfo, in your last paragraph you seem to be being apologetic for your opinion. We are all pretty positive members here. I know you are a new member but all opinions are welcome unless they are troll like and bashing of gm or Cadillac then we go nuts :-) .

This is a great engine, and with any mechanical device rebuilds are necessary, even the space shuttle.

I wasn't really being apologetic, just stating it was from my experience. Some people may have taken the statements about Cadillacs desire to only make the engine last until the warranty had expired as an attack on Cadillac/GM, and somehow offensive to a diehard Cadillac "fan"....

And let me say this - I did hate one cadillac, it was the Cimmaron - what a piece of @#$%.....

Maybe, if they would have added more head bolts 25 - 30 instead of 20 maybe........ How did the imports do it?


THERE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH TIME TO DO THE JOB RIGHT - THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH TIME TO DO THE JOB AGAIN !!!

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Haha, a blinged up Chevy Cavalier with 88 horsepower. Hey they were attempting to address the gas crisis. They should have thrown the Quad4 in the Cimmaron. Cadillac Jim is a big fan of the Quad4. Here is a list Cadillac should have avoided.

http://content.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658526,00.html

Ahh, planned obsolescence, I guess if the accountants didn't get involved the Cadillac would cost as much as a foreign car, haha.


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >> http://z-cut.de/US/dtcobd1.html

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> http://carprogrammer.com/Z28/PCM/OBD2/On-BoardDiagnosticTroubleCodes(OBD-II).mht

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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The dissimilar metals of block and head did not escape the GM engine team. They've been building aluminum engines since 1960. The solution for just about all of them is long head bolts with torque-and-twist installation. It works fine.

BBF had a long post that called out all the common-sense and some of the more technical arguments about the situation; I'll refer to that instead of summarizing the same points.

Any aluminum engine is going to have problems if the coolant isn't changed properly. I've never heard of a dealer telling someone to change the coolant. I've changed the lower intake manifold gasket on my wife's 1999 Pontiac with the corporate 3.4 liter V6 - twice. The dealer techs put the old coolant back in when they were done. In the Northstar, the head bolt wells are the vulnerable point. Those are sealed during engine assembly but it just takes a pinhole or crack to get corrosion started from traces of acidic coolant. And, once it's in there, it takes a head gasket job to get it out.

I've seen two spikes in head gasket jobs in Northstars over the years, at seven years, and at nine years. It takes five years for the coolant to go acidic, and apparently about two more years for a head bolt to pull, hence the seven-year spike. If a dealer changes all the fluids on a car that is turned in on a two-year lease, that restarts the clock, hence the nine-year spike.

Four cars in three months in a busy shop like that of barczy01 is worth noting but it isn't enough to declare a general problem. But it does sound like it might be the nine-year spike.

We have a survey on HG problems on the site here, and the last time I checked it some years ago it was running 15% of owners having had a head gasket problem. Since Caddyinfo is, and has been for many years, the go-to place for troubleshooting and serious DIY people as well as the closet GM tech (you know who you are), that number is quite likely high.

An engine can become severely overheated for conventional reasons, which can ding what's left of the coolant, stretch the head bolts out-of-spec, and compress the head gasket out-of-spec. This could easily be behind some, or all, of the cases barczy01 reports. The loose head bolts reported by barczy01 on a couple of cars are very likely partly pulled, possibly by a case of severe overheating.

Here, we are limited to exchanging text post and occasional photos. GM and others keep bad parts exchanged on warranty (and occasionally in other cases with the permission of the owner) and does takedown analysis of the parts. Every part of every car is always subject to redesign, and if a design weakness is detected in a new car, a redesign comes quickly. Without multiple takedowns with analysis by teams of qualified people with the tools to do things like chemical analysis of debris found anywhere in the engine including head bolt holes, we are really guessing.


CTS-V_Dashboard.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I am actually not very surprised that we are now seeing this on the 2004 and up, and it is not due to GMs or Cadillac's incompetence, poor quality or poor design. It is solely due to the block being made of aluminum, period. There are plusses and minuses to using aluminum and unfortunately pulled head bolts are a minus.

Now some will say, who does he think he is, an engineer? Nope, I just observe, research and conclude from my own experience. Aluminum is a comparatively soft material compared to the old heavy boat anchor cast iron engines where you NEVER had head gasket problems, NEVER. I used to pull heads on 429s, 472s and 500s and had them done over (valve job, lifters, etc) and just bolted them back down with a simple beam torque wrench and I never had a problem.

All one needs to do is to go to timesert.com and see how many manufacturers they make inserts for. I recently saw an episode of amazing or incredible factories and saw how the AMG engine was made, by the way it looks very similar to a Northstar,the block being split at the middle of the crank.

So when I saw these threads at mbworld.org, I said, let me do some research on the AMG engine.

Here are a few threads I found interesting

Just bought my 2007 E63, 57K miles:

Head gasket failure or more likely head bolts failed:

Symptoms:

-Smell the exhaust and it was more sweet than gassy and fumes. Burning coolant

-Open coolant reservoir and you can smell exhaust fumes.

-Coolant loss (started the day I picked the car up)

I did not get milky oil until just last night (final blow to the gasket I suppose) and I parked it not wanting to hydrolock.

Looking at about ~5k I suppose for the HG

______________________________________________________________

The early 63's were unfortunately prone to head gasket failure. Make sure you do studs as well, could be the culprit to the failure. Good luck!

________________________________________________________________

It is public knowledge that the early 63's have this issue on stock form. Im not aware that he has a tune or not.

________________________________________________________________

I have a 2007 s550. It said it needed antifreeze so I added some. Then some leaked out. I haven't had any problems since that. Took it in to dealer .. They told me it needed a new head gasket $2100.

__________________________________________________________________________

Ok. I had a coolant leak on my 2002 C32 with about 60k miles on it. The closest MB dealer is 2 hours away. There is a place close to me that is a "certified MB" service center. So I bring it in, they keep it for 4 or 5 hours and call me back. They say I have a blown head gasket. I thinking "Crap". The guy goes on to tell me that he was at a large MB dealer where his main job was to rebuild engines and this job will probably take about 30 hours and 3800.00

_________________________________________________________________________

I can only say this, when I was a kid, the 330, 390, 429, 472 and even the 500 were junk at 100K, time for rebuild, the tops of the cylinders had a ridge so bad you needed a ridge reamer to get he pistons out. Most of these cars at least my Dads ended up in the junk yard with knocking, oil burning, etc. The Northstar?, at 80K to 120K, you need to rebuild this engine, seals deteriorate, lifters wear (93-99 rubbing element) especially now that SN oils have 800 ppm ZINC and bolts eventually pull as the soft aluminum eventually gives up the ghost. The amazing thing however is that the engine is designed so good that at high mileage, the cross hatch is still visible in the cylinders and there is NO ridge. Simply, tear down the engine, check tolerances, replace what needs replacing, reseal, and drive it like you stole it. This engine is a work of art, and it needs rebuilding just like everything else that wears.

I do not find it surprising that the 2004 and newer are showing signs of head gasket problems these are high revving, high compression, high performance engines that are in vehicles that are amazing with their electronics and conveniences and there is a wide range of possibilities, the cushy long trip Devilles, the sporty ETC two doors or the larger "family performance" STSs. What to do, spend $3500 for a rebuilt engine or $55,000 for a new car?, seems clear to me! That is my two cents.

I think the reason the older engines needed a rebuild at 100K was due to the poor quality oils at the time, not due to bad materials or faulty engineering. Those big block engines were over-engineered but there was not much that could be done with the oils at the time.

The Northstar will run 250,000 miles on the original rings - the lack of ridge on the cylinders and the visibility of the factory hone pattern is why. Even then, a new set of rings, headgaskets, seals and it is good for another 250,000 miles but by that time, the rest of the car is wearing out.


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

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Yep, there were lots of issues with 10w40 sludging up the engine, changing valve covers in those days the inside compared to the inside of a NS is day and night. The NS is pristine inside at high mileage allowing oil to drain back and get to where it needs to be.

I still remember the guru discussing the aggressive cross hatch in the cylinders


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >> http://z-cut.de/US/dtcobd1.html

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> http://carprogrammer.com/Z28/PCM/OBD2/On-BoardDiagnosticTroubleCodes(OBD-II).mht

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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The dissimilar metals of block and head did not escape the GM engine team. They've been building aluminum engines since 1960. The solution for just about all of them is long head bolts with torque-and-twist installation. It works fine.

BBF had a long post that called out all the common-sense and some of the more technical arguments about the situation; I'll refer to that instead of summarizing the same points.

Any aluminum engine is going to have problems if the coolant isn't changed properly. I've never heard of a dealer telling someone to change the coolant. I've changed the lower intake manifold gasket on my wife's 1999 Pontiac with the corporate 3.4 liter V6 - twice. The dealer techs put the old coolant back in when they were done. In the Northstar, the head bolt wells are the vulnerable point. Those are sealed during engine assembly but it just takes a pinhole or crack to get corrosion started from traces of acidic coolant. And, once it's in there, it takes a head gasket job to get it out.

I've seen two spikes in head gasket jobs in Northstars over the years, at seven years, and at nine years. It takes five years for the coolant to go acidic, and apparently about two more years for a head bolt to pull, hence the seven-year spike. If a dealer changes all the fluids on a car that is turned in on a two-year lease, that restarts the clock, hence the nine-year spike.

Four cars in three months in a busy shop like that of barczy01 is worth noting but it isn't enough to declare a general problem. But it does sound like it might be the nine-year spike.

We have a survey on HG problems on the site here, and the last time I checked it some years ago it was running 15% of owners having had a head gasket problem. Since Caddyinfo is, and has been for many years, the go-to place for troubleshooting and serious DIY people as well as the closet GM tech (you know who you are), that number is quite likely high.

An engine can become severely overheated for conventional reasons, which can ding what's left of the coolant, stretch the head bolts out-of-spec, and compress the head gasket out-of-spec. This could easily be behind some, or all, of the cases barczy01 reports. The loose head bolts reported by barczy01 on a couple of cars are very likely partly pulled, possibly by a case of severe overheating.

Here, we are limited to exchanging text post and occasional photos. GM and others keep bad parts exchanged on warranty (and occasionally in other cases with the permission of the owner) and does takedown analysis of the parts. Every part of every car is always subject to redesign, and if a design weakness is detected in a new car, a redesign comes quickly. Without multiple takedowns with analysis by teams of qualified people with the tools to do things like chemical analysis of debris found anywhere in the engine including head bolt holes, we are really guessing.

I've never heard of coolant breaking a head bolt. I've never heard of coolant loosening a head bolt so that in can be removed by hand.

Let me know of your experience with the removal of HGs on 4.1 - 4.5 or 4.9, even NSs and tell me how many head bolts were broken or loose. I can say almost everyone I did had the problem. The problem has been ongoing since the inception of the 4.1..

Dex-Cool is an acid based coolant and uses Organic Acid Technology, your 99 Pontiac intake manifold is being attacked by the coolant. If the repair was done under warranty, the factory warranty doesn't cover the coolant replacement. You should have requested the coolant be changed.

One group of corrosion inhibitors (2-ethylhexanoate and ethylhexanoic acid) soften many plastics such as nylon-66 and silicone rubber. Nylon-66 was used as the carrier in lower intake manifold (LIM) gaskets up to and including the 1999 model year cars. (The actual seals for the coolant and air intake passages are formed on top of the carrier). As a result, the plastic carrier essentially dissolved around the coolant passages between the LIM and the heads, allowing the gasket seals around these passages to loose structural support and leak. Dex-Cool is an acceptable choice IF your car was a 2000 model year or later (or if your lower intake manifold gaskets have been replaced with the more resistant plastic or metal carrier gaskets), IF you live is a temperate climate (above 28F in winter), IF you change the radiator cap with every coolant change (e.g., every three years), and IF you make sure the reservoir is always filled with coolant.

To say that a 10 - 15 percent failure rate is an extremely low number or to insinuate that it is acceptable is like saying a 10 percent casualty rate in combat is acceptable, maybe, if you're not one of the 10 percent.


THERE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH TIME TO DO THE JOB RIGHT - THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH TIME TO DO THE JOB AGAIN !!!

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Jim,

I used to operate a coolant recycler - FYI


THERE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH TIME TO DO THE JOB RIGHT - THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH TIME TO DO THE JOB AGAIN !!!

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The dissimilar metals of block and head did not escape the GM engine team. They've been building aluminum engines since 1960. The solution for just about all of them is long head bolts with torque-and-twist installation. It works fine.

WHO RAISED THE ISSUE OF DISSIMILAR METALS BETWEEN THE BLOCK AND HEAD, THAT THE GM ENGINE TEAM NEEDED TO BE USED AS SUPPORT? WHO DOUBTED GM THAT WE NEEDED TO HEAR THAT THEY HAVE BEEN BUILDING ENGINES SINCE 1960? AND WHO DOUBTED THE TORQUING TECHNIQUE THAT IT DID NOT WORK FINE THAT YOU NEEDED TO SAY THAT? YOU TAKE AN AGGRESSIVE STANCE IF YOU ASK ME.

BBF had a long post that called out all the common-sense and some of the more technical arguments about the situation; I'll refer to that instead of summarizing the same points.

Any aluminum engine is going to have problems if the coolant isn't changed properly. I've never heard of a dealer telling someone to change the coolant. I've changed the lower intake manifold gasket on my wife's 1999 Pontiac with the corporate 3.4 liter V6 - twice. The dealer techs put the old coolant back in when they were done. In the Northstar, the head bolt wells are the vulnerable point. Those are sealed during engine assembly but it just takes a pinhole or crack to get corrosion started from traces of acidic coolant. And, once it's in there, it takes a head gasket job to get it out.

WE HAVE SEEN ENGINES WHERE THE COOLANT WAS CHANGED ON TIME AND THE ENGINE STILL HAD PROBLEMS. WHERE DOES THE DEALER NOT TELLING OWNERS TO CHANGE THE COOLANT COME FROM? IF YOU TAKE THE VEHICLE IN FOR SERVICE THE APPROPRIATE SERVICE WILL BE DONE BASED ON THE MILEAGE, PLUS THE COOLANT CHANGE SCHEDULE IS IN THE OWNERS MANUAL, AND THE MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE BOOKLET.

Coolant%20Change%20Schedule_zpsxibquac9.

THE HEAD BOLTS ARE VULNERABLE? THAT IS THE FIRST I HAVE EVER HEARD THAT, CERTAINLY THE GURU NEVER STATED THAT. SEALED DURING THE ASSEMBLY PROCESS? AS FAR AS I KNOW THE ONLY SEAL IS THE HEAD GASKET ITSELF. HOW COOLANT GETS INTO THE BOLT THREAD THEREBY STARTING ELECTROLYSIS HAS BEEN DEBATED, IT COULD BE A DAMAGED HEAD GASKET FROM HOT/COLD CYCLING, MOVEMENT, COMPROMISED CLAMPING FORCE OR A LOSS OF TENSION ON THE BOLTS THAT PERMITS COOLANT TO ENTER THE BOLTS, BUT WE HAVE BEAT UP THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG STORY OVER AND OVER, MEANING DOES COOLANT CAUSE THE PROBLEM EATING THE HEAD GASKET OR DOES COMPROMISED CLAMPING FORCE CAUSE THE PROBLEM ALLOWING COOLANT INTO THE THREADS STARTING THE ELECTROLYSIS PROBLEM ACCELERATING THE WEAKENING OF THE THREADS.

I've seen two spikes in head gasket jobs in Northstars over the years, at seven years, and at nine years. It takes five years for the coolant to go acidic, and apparently about two more years for a head bolt to pull, hence the seven-year spike. If a dealer changes all the fluids on a car that is turned in on a two-year lease, that restarts the clock, hence the nine-year spike.

WHERE DO YOU GET SUFFICIENT DATA TO OBSERVE THESE SPIKES? A TYPICAL 2 YEAR LEASE IS 12,000 MILES PER YEAR, I FOR SOME REASON DOUBT VERY MUCH A DEALER WILL CHANGE THE COOLANT AT 24,000 MILES AND 2 YEARS WHEN THE CHANGE SCHEDULE IS 100,000 MILES. MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE SO CALLED "CERTIFIED" 200 POINT CHECK IS THAT THE CAR WAS DETAILED AND THE OIL CHECKED. CHANGE THE COOLANT AT 24k OR BEFORE REQUIRED IN THE MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE?, THAT IS KIND OF HUMOROUS.

Four cars in three months in a busy shop like that of barczy01 is worth noting but it isn't enough to declare a general problem. But it does sound like it might be the nine-year spike.

YOU ARE BEING VERY PROTECTIVE JIM OF THE 2004 AND NEWER ENGINES AND IT SOUNDS BIAS TO ME, AND YOU KNOW WHAT I LOVE THE NORTHSTAR, GM AND CADILLAC. NO ONE WAS DECLARING IT A GENERAL PROBLEM! AND YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU ARE RIGHT, WE DONT KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE ENGINES, THE COOLANT MIGHT NEVER HAVE BEEN CHANGED AND IT WAS ACIDIC, IT COULD HAVE BEEN ABUSED AND OVERHEATED. A BUSY SHOP LIKE BARCZY01?, HE ISNT JUST WORKING ON 2004 AND NEWER NORTHSTARS SO 4 IN 3 MONTHS IS SOMETHING TO WATCH.

We have a survey on HG problems on the site here, and the last time I checked it some years ago it was running 15% of owners having had a head gasket problem. Since Caddyinfo is, and has been for many years, the go-to place for troubleshooting and serious DIY people as well as the closet GM tech (you know who you are), that number is quite likely high.

AGAIN WHY THE POM POMS? WHY SO DEFENSIVE? WHO SAID SOMETHING FOR YOU TO START CITING STATISTICS? DO THOSE STATISTICS INCLUDE MY 96 DEVILLE AND JIMD'S SEVILLE THAT EVENTUALLY BLEW A HEAD GASKET? LETS REVISE THOSE STATISTICS BECAUSE OVER TIME THEY GO. AND THAT IS OK, AT 100K, THEY GET A REBUILD AND THEY ARE GOOD TO GO.

An engine can become severely overheated for conventional reasons, which can ding what's left of the coolant, stretch the head bolts out-of-spec, and compress the head gasket out-of-spec. This could easily be behind some, or all, of the cases barczy01 reports. The loose head bolts reported by barczy01 on a couple of cars are very likely partly pulled, possibly by a case of severe overheating.

CONJECTURE WITHOUT MAINTENANCE RECORDS AND WITHOUT SPEAKING TO THE OWNERS. TURN THE POM POM MODE OFF.

Here, we are limited to exchanging text post and occasional photos. GM and others keep bad parts exchanged on warranty (and occasionally in other cases with the permission of the owner) and does takedown analysis of the parts. Every part of every car is always subject to redesign, and if a design weakness is detected in a new car, a redesign comes quickly. Without multiple takedowns with analysis by teams of qualified people with the tools to do things like chemical analysis of debris found anywhere in the engine including head bolt holes, we are really guessing.

SHOULD I TAKE THAT LAST PARAGRAPH AS AN INSULT?, AFTERALL YOU CALLED ME OUT ABOVE, SEE "YOU WOULD REFER TO THAT" ABOVE.....THAT WE OR I AM GUESSING? THAT WE ARE I AM NOT QUALIFIED? THAT WE OR I DONT HAVE TEAMS?, THAT WE OR I DONT HAVE THE EXPERIENCE TO MAKE SUCH STATEMENTS?.

YOU SAY A RE-DISIGN COMES QUICKLY, ARE YOU KIDDING, 2000 (AFTER 93 TO 99) THEN 2004?. GM I LOVE THEM, BUT HISTORICALLY THEY HAVE BEEN THE TITANIC, THEY DONT MAKE CHANGES QUICKLY (AND I AM BEING KIND, THEY ARE A BEHEMOUTH AND NO LARGE COMPANY MAKES CHANGES QUICKLY), IF ANYTHING THE AFTERMARKET COMPANIES LIKE FELPRO AND VICTOR ARE THE ONES MAKING THE IMPROVEMENTS. LISTEN I WILL SAY IT AGAIN, I LOVE GM, CADILLAC AND THE NORTHSTAR. THE 2004 BOLT CHANGE WAS SUPPOSE TO FIX THE HEAD GASKET PROBLEM, AND YET WE ARE STILL GETTING ENGINES WITH HEAD GASKET ISSUES. I TRIED TO PUT THAT INTO PERSPECTIVE, I WAS BEING KIND AND SAYING IT WAS THE NATURE OF THE BEAST AND THE RESULT OF SOFT ALUMINUM AS COMPARED TO CAST IRON, I SAID IT HAPPENS AROUND 100K NOT TOO SHABBY IF YOU ASK ME AND THEN AGAIN IT MIGHT NEVER HAPPEN, I SHOWED IT WAS HAPPENING WITH AMG ENGINES, WHERE THEY ARE HAVING HEAD BOLT AND BLOWN HEAD GASKET ISSUES, I WOULD PUT THE NORTHSTAR ON PAR WITH THE AMG. THE FACT IS, A SMALL SAMPLE LIKE barczy01's SHOP HAS WITH 4 IN 3 MONTHS IS SOMEWHAT ALARMING. THAT IS A FACT AND IT RAISED MY EYEBROW. AND YES, IT COULD BE THE RESULT OF MAINTENANCE, OVERHEATING AND HITTING THE RED LINE EVERYDAY.

Jim your post was so long that I needed to respond to it in sections as I did above and I used CAPS so that you could see where I replied. I am NOT yelling I want to make that clear. You seem to be performing damage control and being defensive for some unknown reason. NO ONE said ANYTHING disparaging to GM, NORTHSTAR or CADILLAC as the tone and stance of your post has implied. I am their biggest fan, and think the NS is a work of art. This is NOT an argument. As you said, you directed your statements at me, and I am responding to your pointed statements.

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >> http://z-cut.de/US/dtcobd1.html

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> http://carprogrammer.com/Z28/PCM/OBD2/On-BoardDiagnosticTroubleCodes(OBD-II).mht

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'm not doing "damage control" or defending the newer head bolts, but simply giving an opinion. I the last point I made is that what we are expressing today is opinions too. Beyond that, I'll just add a couple of things here.

Nearly all head gasket problems reported here are on cars with over 100,000 miles on them or at least seven years old, usually both.

Yes, there have been a few cases of head gasket problems with a known good coolant maintenance record.

When I had the coolant changed in my current car (2011 model, coolant changed in early 2016), the service tech said that coolant chance is part of the 70,000 mile service for my car. He commented that this was early for that procedure. He said the same thing about asking that they service the transmission at the same time. Note that at a typical usage of 14,000 miles a year, the 70,000 mile service comes when the car is 5 years old.


CTS-V_Dashboard.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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While barczy01 may come back and add the facts, no where does he say "Nearly all head gasket problems reported here are on cars with over 100,000 miles on them"

The information about the service you had done to your car is anecdotal and one service techs "opinion" who is there to sell service. What does the maintenance schedule booklet say that was delivered with the vehicle regarding coolant changes and tranny fluid changes? Of course you would like what the service tech stated, you have advised members here to change their tranny fluid at 40,000 mile intervals ( http://caddyinfo.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=44962&p=228873 ). THAT interval is opinion and not based on GMs published maintenance schedule and excessive. Of course you will defend it as "more is better", so then you might as well call for 3,000 mile oil changes also.

Your average of 14,000 miles per year and calling it typical is high, you know that because of the mileage you put on the Jasper engine per year. My mother in law does 5,000 miles per year. My wife does 7500 per year, and yes I know that info is anecdotal, so what is typical on a 2007 Deville?, they must be looked at on a case by case basis.

Jim I dont want to start an arguement here but you were being defensive for the 2004 fix and GM (as I have been in the past when someone is disparaging GM, Cadillac or the NS) and you went directly at me with some pointed statements many of which were false and anecdotal.

And please do not try to soften my statements by calling them opinion. The definition of opinion is "a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge" and that is offensive again. That is an example of the damage control I referred to it discounts hands on mechanical experience, time spent here helping thousands of members, sending NS engines around the world, actual observations and research, literally years of involvement with this engine, actual NS maintenance and repair on many many engines, and having the benefit of the guru for years.

The FACT is, an incidence of four 2004 and newer head gaskets in 3 months out of a single shop is alarming. If you are worried about my statements ruffling the feathers of sponsors here, dealers won't even work on these vintage NSs out of warranty so keep your pantyhose on.

And I will repeat again, the Northstar is a work of art.

By the way, the first aluminum I worked on was in a 54 Packard Caribbean Convertible with an aluminum head and the experience wasn't good. Talk about dissimilar metals?, it had an aluminum head and cast iron block. That head by the way cracked and a couple of accessory bolt threads that were located in the head pulled out upon tightening which resulted in my learning some new vocabulary from my dad.

http://www.carfolio.com/specifications/models/car/?car=327778


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >> http://z-cut.de/US/dtcobd1.html

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> http://carprogrammer.com/Z28/PCM/OBD2/On-BoardDiagnosticTroubleCodes(OBD-II).mht

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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BBF, why are you arguing with me? If you actually read the post and your long post before it, we are in violent agreement.

I have never commented on the 2004 "fix." The main thing I said in my post was that if a head bolt was loose enough to be taken off with a 3/8" ratchet, the head bolt was at least partially pulled; that was referring to a 2004+ car but that seems obvious for any head bolt.

Some of the first American part-aluminum engines, before 1960, did use head bolt threads right up to the deck. If the length of the head bolt from the deck to the flat of the head is short enough for the head gasket to give over the temperature range of the engine, that will work. But there was a Rambler with an aluminum engine of the 1950's that was known to be junk if it ever overheated, even once.

There were so few 1954 Packards sold with the 200 hp straight 8 with the aluminum head that I have never heard of service problems with them. The Packard management, in spite of plenty of experience in building Merlin-licensed Packard V-1650 for WW II that because the two-plane V8 crankshaft, used in Cadillac since the 1924 model year and used in practically all road car V8 engines since, has a primary imbalance that the straight eight was fundamentally smoother, and resisted building a V8 until it was too late to save the company.

I did have a friend with a 1949 Ford that he put aluminum heads an intake manifold on, with three two-barrel carburetors. It ran best with the two on the ends blocked off at the manifold. And, the manifold was soft, and every single thread in it pulled out at one time or another. Big problems with thermostat housing leaks, as well as accessory mounts.

I don't worry about your statements here. You do a pretty good job of taking care of yourself.


CTS-V_Dashboard.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I didnt see us in agreement at all, but ok. I saw your replies as defensive. Maybe its just writing styles. For instance this statement above "If you actually read the post" the word actually implies that I didnt read it, it comes across as arrogant. Like I said, its probably stylistic. I read everything and will read implications if they are there.

You are correct about the 54 Packard Caribbean conv, I understood that there were 300 built, when the head cracked, I recall my dad tried to repair it unsuccessfully. I never understood why he just didnt get a new head, but he just sold it to a collector who was excited it get it. It had wire wheels leather interior, a very unique car. I dont remember how it cracked, but I vaguely recall that someone may have poured cold water or coolant into the engine that was not fully cooled. Having been a B17 mechanic in ww2 I doubt that my dad did that, but who knows. I remember that car being a sight to see but problematic. From then on it was Cadillac starting with the 55 Fleetwood that we took across the country.


Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >> http://z-cut.de/US/dtcobd1.html

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> http://carprogrammer.com/Z28/PCM/OBD2/On-BoardDiagnosticTroubleCodes(OBD-II).mht

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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