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AM I NUTS?


kigy311

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I bought a 1998 Deville off the Ebay for $1,925.The car has 82K miles and is in excellent condition inside/out,loaded.The ONLY problem is that the seller states it has some sort of overheating problem.It starts,drives smooth but it displays Engine overheated Stop engine.Doesn't blow smoke and he can't see any leaks but he says I should have it towed to my place.I figured for $1900 I can't go wrong for a mint body/interior/loaded Cadillac,vehicle history checks OK,one owner.What is the worst that can be?Head gaskets?How much to fix?Maybe something else?Any suggestions?Thanks. :unsure:

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If you will be doing the work yourself, you have landed in the right place to get guidance. Coolant is going somewhere it is not supposed to go and you will want to diagnose that condition accurately. There are many possibilities and only one of them is expensive.

But before you run that engine, change the oil and filter. That STOP engine message is displayed because the engine got hot enough to cook the oil. Change it.

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

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I guess it depends on what's causing it to overheat. If it's just a sensor problem or the radiator's clogged or something else that's easy to fix, then you got yourself a steal. But if there's a head gasket problem...?

On the other hand, even if you spend 2K to fix head gaskets you would still have a nice car for the money.

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Typically if the cooling system is not maintained properly, the head gaskets can blow because the coolant becomes acidic, eats through the head gasket, gets into the head bolt holes and corrodes the aluminum weakening it and the head bolt pulls. See the photo as to how thin the cylinder walls are, the gasket has to be doing its job.

You should have the coolant checked for combustion hydrocarbons. If they are found you have a bad head gasket. If you have a bad head gasket, the job runs $2200 to $3000 and the engine MUST be TIME-SERVED, MUST! Do a search under time-sert.

You can also have the cooling system pressurized, and you can have the cylinders pressurized. Pressurizing the cylinders on the compression stroke will show the integrity of the head gasket if bubbles show up in the coolant tank while a cylinder is pressurized the head gasket is breeched.

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

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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This would be my first Cadillac.I was a Towncar man but a friend of mine has a 99 Deville with 319k miles original motor,never had major problems:replaced alternator,blower motor,catalic converter and O2 sensors;still running very strong.I figured at 82K miles the overheating could be something minor but again might be major,god forbid.I suspect the seller,an old man that deals cars from one auction to another only,says he doesn't know much about engines,but probably knows what the problem is.How can someone screw up a decent engine like the Northstar at 82K miles and my body's Cadillac still runs great at 319K miles?Maybe a factory dud? :angry:

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Not a factory dud, its poor maintenance or maybe just a failure which can happen. You could sell it an just break even with it, if you don't want to invest money into it. The question arises, in what condition is the rest of the car to warrant investing an additional $3000. Check the struts, bushings and check for leaks. I would also use the onboard computer and check for computer codes indicating potential problem codes. The question is, is the car worth putting $3000 into given its condition or do you just want to unload it.

In good condition that car could be worth $5000 to $6000 or more, you can check KBB to be sure. He did not rip you off, you bought it for $1925, add $3000 and you are at $4925. You actually still paid below what it is worth, so you got a good deal. If you sell it, you can use that logic. Its a shame you didn't find us before you purchased it, we could have pointed out the potential pitfalls. The word overheating would have set off alarms here.

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

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 hate to think about selling it.Haven't seen the car yet,pictures only,but out of a 10 it's a 9.5.Like brand new,talking about body/interior. <_<

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These cars around here at the dealers are going for 7-8 grand (99's are a bit more). That looks identical to my car, popular color for the year :) To me it sounds like the cooling system may have been neglected which could have lead to a head gasket failure. If the car is running fine and the message ocmes up it indeed could be a bad sensor. Could also be something as easy to repair as the waterpump.

Once you get it running, even if putting in 4 grand, you still well below market value on a rock solid car.

Most of my problems have NOT been engine related but common wear components, had a window switch go, my Memory Module is acting up but from what I've seen thats because a wire somewhere is loose and I haven't had time to find it.

Since it is approaching 100,000 miles there are few procedures that you have to do to it, mainly check the plugs/wires out. I would replace the plugs, check the wires for the proper resistance, make sure none have carbon tracks.

Good luck and investing 3-4 grand in this car will be well worth it in my opinion, plus with the sunroof resale value goes up a bit, gotta love them for enjoyment value too :)

The Green's Machines

1998 Deville - high mileage, keeps on going, custom cat-back exhaust

2003 Seville - stock low mileage goodness!

2004 Grand Prix GTP CompG - Smaller supercharger pulley, Ported Exhaust Manifolds, Dyno tune, etc

1998 Firebird Formula - 408 LQ9 Stroker motor swap and all sorts of go fast stuff

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There are several things to check before condeming the head gaskets, such as surge tank cap, thermostat, purge line, radiator. What s a steal if it only had a plugged purge line, though like you, I suspect he knows what he had.

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I can hardly wait until tomorrow to pick up the car.Reading some posts about overheating I kind of ask myself what did I got into buying this car?I am mechanicly inclined but seems like everything about Cadillacs is in the $ thousands when it comes to repairs.On a 96 Towncar I replaced the head gaskets myself-without pulling out the motor- and it cost me about $300 for parts including shaving the heads.Tomorrow feels <_< like a year.....

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"Wir müssen die Existenz unserer Leute und einer Zukunft für weiße Kinder sichern!"

Yeah, easy for you to say . . . .

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There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved. - Ludwig von Mises

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"Wir müssen die Existenz unserer Leute und einer Zukunft für weiße Kinder sichern!"

Yeah, easy for you to say . . . .

What do you mean easy????

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Anyway,when I pick up the car tomorrow,where should I start checking knowing about the overheating problem or ENGINE HOT STOP ENGINE DISPLAY?

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NADA value in Indiana is:

Low Retail - $6700

Avg Retail - $8075

High Retail - $9200

Sounds like you found a great deal. Even if it needs a head gasket, you'll be in good shape. B)

Read up hear, do the necessary maintenance (search coolant and coolant tabs), and you'll be a Caddy lover too!

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Your Town Car has a similar (in size only) 4.6L V-8 engine, but only of about 210 hp. The Northstar is also a 4.6L V-8 engine, but of DOHC design, with 32 valves, full aluminum construction, and with either 275 or 300 hp.

You can change the head gaskets on a Northstar just as easily as you did on your Ford Modular 4.6...but for the engine orientation. With the transverse layout of the Cadillac, it adds more difficulty for sure. But it can be done with the engine in the car. Some folks here have done it.

But to be sure, follow the advice of the guys here and have the system properly diagnosed. Overall, the occurance of overheating is rare, but when it does happen, it is often a head gasket problem, which is why folks usually jump to that conclusion. When you get it, do a pressure check on all the cylinders and let us know.

By the way, I do think you got a steal on that car. Even if you had to buy a completely new engine, you'll still barely have the blue book value in it. That may have been more than you originally wanted to pay on it, but if you're questioning whether or not it's worth the repair, considering the potential value of the car as a whole, I think you're still in the green.

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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I can hardly wait until tomorrow to pick up the car.Reading some posts about overheating I kind of ask myself what did I got into buying this car?I am mechanicly inclined but seems like everything about Cadillacs is in the $ thousands when it comes to repairs.On a 96 Towncar I replaced the head gaskets myself-without pulling out the motor- and it cost me about $300 for parts including shaving the heads.Tomorrow feels <_< like a year.....

The engine is difficult to change the head gaskets with the engine in the car. Typically they need to remove the engine/tranny carriage, which is time consuming, time as you know is money. Then, the block needs to be time-serted and the engine reinstalled. Add to that that the engine has dual over head cams and two timing chains plus a third chain. I have done about 10 valve jobs in my life and they were easy as you noted. This engine is not as simple to replace the head gasket on as the old cast iron V8's. Try not comparing this car to the Town Car mechanically, you are going to need to RELEARN everything.

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

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 can hardly wait until tomorrow to pick up the car.Reading some posts about overheating I kind of ask myself what did I got into buying this car?I am mechanicly inclined but seems like everything about Cadillacs is in the $ thousands when it comes to repairs.On a 96 Towncar I replaced the head gaskets myself-without pulling out the motor- and it cost me about $300 for parts including shaving the heads.Tomorrow feels <_< like a year.....

If I remember right adallak or kevin did there head gaskets theirself for about $800. I still think you got a good deal. Invest in a good factory shop manual at www.helminc.com they are running a sale on GM manuals.

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Lighten up a little bit folks!!

Less than 4 hours into this adventure (the poor guy does not even have the car yet) and the conversation has already free fallen all the way to Time-Serting with the engine in and out of the vehicle. Maybe an hour or two spent on systematic diagnosis will uncover a simple explanation for the overheating?

Where has the optimism gone?

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

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I can hardly wait until tomorrow to pick up the car.Reading some posts about overheating I kind of ask myself what did I got into buying this car?I am mechanicly inclined but seems like everything about Cadillacs is in the $ thousands when it comes to repairs.On a 96 Towncar I replaced the head gaskets myself-without pulling out the motor- and it cost me about $300 for parts including shaving the heads.Tomorrow feels <_< like a year.....

Repairs in the thousands? Only if you let the dealer touch your car... :lol: Ask a Lincoln owner about how much it costs to replace the air bladder suspension...

I would check the water pump belt tensioner to make sure it is pivoting freely. Also, check the purge line from the water pump cover to the surge tank - disconnect the line at the surge tank and start the engine. Coolant should pee out the hose, if not, there is an obstruction in the line and that is the likely cause of the overheating.

Some have replaced the head gaskets without pulling the engine and I started down that route with my '97 STS (I bought it on ebay with blown head gaskets) but realized that it would be much easier to pull the engine. Torquing to angle is hard enough when the engine is on a stand - it would be really tough on the rear bank of cylinders. Once I had the heads off the engine, it was only about another 30 minutes to pull the engine out.

Here is a tool that I made to pressurize each cylinder with shop air while it's at top dead center. Take the cap off the surge tank and if you hear any noise or see bubbles, the head gasket is shot. IN my case, the surge tank erupted like a geyser.... Check all 8 cylinders in this manner.

If the head gasket(s) are shot and you notice coolant in the oil, drain the coolant and use a shop vac exhaust to blow as much of it out of the surge tank as possible and then start the engine and let it run for 2 or 3 minutes to purge out any remaining coolant (you won't hurt anything - the engine can run for 50 miles without coolant) and then change the oil. Only install 5 quarts - the normal full capacity is 7.5 quarts. This will keep the oil level well below the timing cover so you won't spinn any oil when you remove the cover. Run the engine for 2-3 minutes with the new oil in it to get fresh oil in the bearings.

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

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I did kind of go negative you are right. My first post stated to test the coolant for hydrocarbons to eliminate the possibility of a head gasket.

The car sold very cheaply, so that would lead one to believe that the overheating problem is serious as the owner would have fixed it and either kept it or sold it at 'market'. Could it have been mis-diagnosed?, definately.

I think this thread gathered steam as the discussion went on.. I certainly hope that the head gasket is good. But after a few basic checks (water pump belt, thermostat, purge line, etc), I would check the cooling system for hydrocarbons.

Sorry if it appeared I was negative.

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

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 don't know if the seller is dumb or playing dumb.I asked him a few logical questions:Is it blowing white or any kind of smoke?Do you see any coolant leaks?Water pump noise?He said he doesn't know much about engines,the car starts,runs but the display shows ENGINE HOT or OVERHEAT and STOP THE ENGINE.He also said that I could drive it home but to bring a gallon of coolant because it looks low.I pulled the Experian vehicle history reports and everything checks OK and the car had one owner until 09/29/06 when this guy bought it at a dealer auction.I know his place of business and he doesn't have any mechanics on site.I do know a few people buying/selling cars from one auction to another without investing any time or money in the cars to fix or clean them and belive me THEY DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT CARS.I hope my seller is the same and it is a minor problem. ;)

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How far do you need to drive to pick up the car? It may make more sense to rent a car hauling trailer and haul it home. Without knowing what is causing it to overheat, you could cause additional damage by driving it.

I can hardly wait until tomorrow to pick up the car.Reading some posts about overheating I kind of ask myself what did I got into buying this car?I am mechanicly inclined but seems like everything about Cadillacs is in the $ thousands when it comes to repairs.On a 96 Towncar I replaced the head gaskets myself-without pulling out the motor- and it cost me about $300 for parts including shaving the heads.Tomorrow feels <_< like a year.....

If I remember right adallak or kevin did there head gaskets theirself for about $800. I still think you got a good deal. Invest in a good factory shop manual at www.helminc.com they are running a sale on GM manuals.

It was me - the $800 included the price of the Timesert Kit - I needed oversized inserts as a previous repair attempt by a nitwit dealer failed.

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

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I got to drive it about 60 miles back home but not before I check a thing or two to make sure I won't do any damage. :)

If I were you, I would plan on dollying it home. Get it home, then diagnose it thoroughly before driving it. A 60 mile trip is plenty long to overheat it if something is wrong. U-Haul rents tow dollies, or you could rent a truck and trailer and trailer it home (if you don't own a truck). Or better yet, find a small time wrecker guy and work out a deal with him. There's a lot of them wrecker guys out there who are chomping at the bit to make some change w/ their old wreckers. Food for thought anyhow. B)

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I'll take a chance driving it home but not before I make sure it is safe to do so.I'll check the fluids levels,belt/s,water pump,hoses,etc and try to pull out some codes on the DIC as soon as I find the right way to do it.I will let it idle also and keep my eyes on the cooling system for a few good minutes. ;)

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