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97 STS Head Bolts or something else?


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Hey guys,

I bought a 97 STS with 103k and have not had a chance to enjoy it yet. I can drive around towm for about 20 minutes before the engine temp starts to rise. I have read numerous post regarding had bolt and gasket repairs, but I'm not sure about what I should to do.

The car looks great but of course there are issues... Mostly electrical. This brings me to my other issue. The headlight panel seems to have a weak connection. At night when the lights automatically come on, they tend to flicker. The flickering light issue is resolved by sliding the switch to a sentenial position, otherwise (if all the way to the left) my headlights will flicker. I also receive the theft - might not restart message. The other message I receive is a "change oil" message although the oil was recently changed and reset on the dash. This has me thinking that my problems are electric related.

To put a twist on the high engine temp issue, when the engine begins to get hot I can make a sharp right turn and the temp will start to go down. A any left turns will almost always cause the tempature to increase. I dont know if the bolts, gaskets, electronics, or a combination of everything so I'm kinda lost right now. I will pulling and post the codes shortly. Let me know what you think.


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A left turn would cause your coolant to run to the right of the engine if it were not full. Obviously if you had NO air in your cooling system right and left turns would make NO difference. When you make a hard right turn, you are forcing the coolant to the water pump side of the engine.

If you are lucky, your purge line is clogged, check your purge line to see if you have coolant flowing from it. Bring your coolant tank up to a normal level. On the top of the black coolant tank is a hose that comes from across the engine. When the engine is COOL, and the car idling pull the hose off of the tank and see if you have coolant flowing out of that hose. DO THIS WHEN THE ENGINE IS COOL AND NO PRESSURE IS IN THE SYSTEM.

You need a new oil level sensor or the connector is off, it screws into the front of the oil pan to the left of the oil filter.

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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You might also check the battery cable. The positive terminal is actually three terminals sandwiched inside the red plastic insulator. Pry them all out and clean them, particularly between the terminals inside the insulator.

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I am very impressed with these responses! They cut right to the heart of both common causes of issues like this. Not just one issue, but a minimum of 3 issues in just two post! Nobody can write a manual like this, knowing the history and effects of over 11 years and countless miles on a vehicle. Info like this can only come from experience.

Akasirro, I don't know where you're from, or what your background is, but you've made some very good choices in where to come for advice.

Does the 1997 Northstar have the hollow bolt in the throttle body? If so, and no coolant flow is detected when the hose is removed per Body's instructions, REMOVE THE BOLT to clean it. Do not blow it back, do not rod it out, do not drill it out, until the bolt is out and sitting on a workbench.

On the headlight issue, I might also suspect the contacts in the relay which controls the headlights. I think they are located under the passenger seat. (please confirm)

Report back after you have tried all of the suggestions.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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