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Head Bolts Pulled Out @ 50k miles!!!!


IamRC

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I have been trying to figure out what to do with my Eldorado. I have been looking around on the web and cant seem to get a straight answer. I am considering getting rid of it all together because i have heard that fixing this with timeserts at the dealer is very expensive and time consuming.

To make things a little clearer ill give you the rundown. My grandmother shows up at my house with a new toyota hybrid out of the blue. I asked what she was doing with her Caddy, knowing that my saturn is on its way out. She said that she was goin to trade it in and they would give her 4 grand for it. I told her that it would be nice to "keep it in the family" knowing that the Eldorado was basically a brand new car with a little over 50k on it. She decides to give me the benefit of the doubt. We get the title transferred and all that stuff and now I have a nice Caddy in the drive. I take the car to gym and on the way back the check coolant level warning comes up on the info center. I keep driving because i am only 4 miles from the house. Next comes the all the warning lights and the car kicks into limp mode so i pull off into a local business.

I get the car to my neighbor who is a GM mechanic and works on all of our cars. He looks at it and finds the radiator had a pin hole so he replaced that and runs some more diagnostics and finds that some of the head bolts pulled( i think 3 on one side). He doesnt have time right now with personal stuff in the way so i am at a stalemate.

Where do i go from here? Fix it? Sell it as is? Any advice is appreciated.

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Before giving any advice..I have a question.

How did he determine that THREE headbolts pulled?

Did he pull the heads on the engine and look at the bolts?

I personally think that a lot more diagnostics need to be done on it to pinpoint exactly what the problem is?

What codes does it have?

If you really think that the bolts may be pulled...(which at this point I have doubts about)... do a combustion by-products test on the coolant.

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Id love to know how he knew that THREE head bolts pulled. As Jim noted check the coolant for combustion by products with a NAPA tester.

Has she owned this car since day one? What kind of maintenance has been done? If the coolant has not been changed it becomes acid, rots the head gasket and gets into the head bolts corroding and weakening the threads.

I really dont want the proverbial Cadillac that was driven to church on Sunday unless it was in for proper maintenance! Low mileage is no excuse for a lack of coolant changes, its 5 years or 100K miles, you are way beyond the 5 year period

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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:welcomesmiley:

Sorry your Cadillac is not behaving properly. I agree with TexasJim; I am not sure how the Mechanic could discover that 3 head bolts had pulled unless he removed the heads. If he removed the heads, they need to be timeserted and a new gasket and head bolts have to be used to put them back on. The head bolts are not re-usable. Sometimes the bolts 'pull' in the process of taking the heads off, or of putting them back on. The timesert process reinforces the holes in the block and makes them much more capable of repeated usage.

Yes, if you do need a new head gasket at this point, you may not want to invest in a head gasket repair, which can be around $2,500. Let's see - a 1999 Eldo with 50K miles is worth around $5K trade-in according to kbb.com. Not running it will be hard to sell, so hard to tell what it is worth in the current condition ($800?).

So it makes sense to shop for a mechanic who can validate that it needs a head gasket, and do a head gasket repair on the Cadillac including time serts IF you have the money for the repair. If you don't have the funds for the repair, then sure it makes sense to sell it as is.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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It may not be exactly three but from what his tech told him at the dealership this is the only thing left that can be the cause for the overheating. I am going only by what he said so thats why i came on here.

As for maintenance it is all documented and everything that has ever been done to car is in a folder that she gave to me. The car was driven to the store or to the YMCA, nothing over 20 miles at a time.

Is the sniffer test the same as the by-product?

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He looks at it and finds the radiator had a pin hole so he replaced that and runs some more diagnostics and finds that some of the head bolts pulled

and

what his tech told him at the dealership this is the only thing left that can be the cause for the overheating.

are two different things.

First, determine if there are exhaust gases in the coolant, which would suggest the head gasket has failed. Then you can figure out what to do next.

The fact that the radiator had a coolant leak suggests there may be other issues afoot.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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....As for maintenance it is all documented and everything that has ever been done to car is in a folder that she gave to me.

What are the dates for engine cooling system service????

What tests were performed that allowed someone to arrive at the "only thing left" diagnosis?

There are several (simple to repair) cooling system problems that can result in your symptoms. And head gasket failures/"pulled bolts" should not be assumed. You really want a thorough complete diagnosis before performing surgery.

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

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I would make sure the radiator is fine, fill it up with proper coolant and take it for a short drive to see whether it overheats. There is also a purge line which is known to cause overheating if it is clogged. Ask the mechanic to check it out. If he did not do that or do not even know about it, get a second opinion.

BTW, are you sure the leak the mechanic found ( or so he said) is not from a radiator side tank? They are plastic and may develop cracks which are not fixable.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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Sometimes pre-conceptions can lead to wrong conclusions. Unless ALL diagnostics are done, an accurate conclusion can not be had.

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 would make sure the coolant air purge line isn't clogged then make sure it's filled and take it for a drive close to home. From personal experience, I know that a clogged air purge line can cause overheating. I would also make sure the thermostat is good as they can go bad. Obviously, the GM mechanic didn't do a coolant combustion gases check because he wouldn't be going through a process of elimination if he did. So, like the others, I'm not convinced that head bolts pulled.

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Ricardo, if you are in the New england area and wish to sell it cheep I would be interested in the purchase as I have the identical car in storage. I would make for some nice spare parts. I would however agree with the many posts thus far. For the mechanic to say that is the only thing left would scare the heck out of me. A bad head gasket can be conclusively diagnoised and I would sure want that before I pulled a NS!!

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Have the car checked for combustion gases in the coolant. If confirmed you do, indeed, have pulled headbolts.

It is an expensive and time consuming job. Tampa, Fl Cadillac dealer quoted me $5,000.00 to Timesert my ’97 Eldorado when headbolts pulled in my motor in the Fall of ‘06. I made the repair myself for about $1,200.00 in tools and parts.

All ten bolts in the rear head pulled out – six I was able to pull out with my fingers and the remaining four were loose.

Making the repair yourself is the best option IMO, installing a used Northstar (that has been Timeserted) is second best. Having said that;I would think long and hard about spending any “serious” money on a 10 year old Cadillac worth only a few grand. To be sure it’s a nice car but it’s still a 10 year old Cadillac and not worth a helluvalot as a used car.

I Timeserted my ’97 Eldorado 2-1/2 years and 23,000 miles ago. The car has been trouble free and runs better than new. However, if I have any more serious trouble with it – it’s off to the salvage yard. Sure, it’s a very nice, clean black on black Eldorado, but it’s still 12 years old with over 100,000 miles on it and virtually worthless on the used car market. I make this point only to caution you – be very reluctant; don’t let your heart rule, to spend $2,500.00 or 3, 4 or 5 grand on a 10 year old Cadillac – even grandma’s… There may be folks here on Caddyinfo who will disagree with me, but your car is still a 10 year old Cadillac and not worth much.

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I believe all 10 year old cadillac's are worth at least $4,500 in the USA as they qualify for the "cash for clunker" proposal which I understand will pass (retroactive to around March 30). Part of the qualification is the trade in car must get under 18mpg. the other qualification is that you have the $$ to buy a new car &the new car must be american - so this car cannot be used for Grandmas hybrid.

My bets are on the purge line, and a new thermostat. I have a policy that once a car overheats, the thermostat is toast. - just be sure it's installed the right way.

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I know for a fact that the thermostat is good becuase that was replaced with the radiator. Unless it was faulty out of the box. The surge line is not clogged. He said it puked coolant when he first got it and was taking out for a test drive. You could follow the trail on the hill that it happened on. He then filled it back up and left the car idling in the garage for 45 minutes with no problems then it spewed all over the floor which i am assuming would be the main function of the line.

I am in the Philly area PoorCaddy(might be too far a range)

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A bad radiator (surge tank) cap will also cause the same symptoms. As others have stated, test the coolant for combustion gasses or pressurize each cylinder with 120 psi using an adapter like this one made from an old spark plug and some fittings:

Bring each cylinder to top dead center and lock the flywheel. Pressurize the cylinder with shop air and observe the coolant inside the surge tank. Any bubbling = bad head gasket. Repeat for the remaining 7 cylinders.

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

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I don't think your mechanic is looking at the correct line. The only way the purge line can be checked for "puking" coolant is if it's disconnected from the overflow tank. It's the vent line coming from the hollow bolt in the throttle body. Any line putting coolant on the ground would be the overflow line from the surge tank, which indicates NOTHING.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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The coolant air purge line must be clear otherwise there will likely be overheating. I have personal experience with overheating caused by a clogged purge line. I disconnected the line at the overflow tank and attached a Mityvac to it and sucked out some debris. Afterward, no more overheating. Just because coolant is flowing from the line doesn't mean it's not partially blocked. It's best to connect a vacuum tester like a Mityvac to it and pull coolant from it to make sure it completely clear.

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If you do conclude that it is pulled head bolts, I agree with MrEldo97, you have to look at the value. With that many miles it might be worth fixing for the simple fact that you know the cars history and there would be alot of miles left. I had the same hard decision to make a few years back with my 94 Concours. It started overheating and I concluded it was head bolts. The problem was that the car had 168,000 miles on it, 100,000 was what I put on it myself. The car other than the engine was in great shape and I really loved that car. I ended up parking it and buying a 97 Deville. One thing was for sure the 97 was not a Concours which I really missed. Now the 94 has been a parts donor for the 97. I thought about maybe rebuilding it as a project but I have too many of those already. I have a 92 Deville with 75,000 miles on it that just needs a waterpump and blower motor, but I just can't seem to get it done. Maybe I will just have to find another Concours.

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