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Hi there i got a 1997 caddy with a north star and the head gasket went on it. ive heard something about the head bolts that cause this problem. i was wondering if this is true if anyone had any suggestions or tips on how to fix this problem. this is my first time working on an American car im use to workin on the honda's but i found this one n i love the way it rides and drive, would appreciate any help. thanks

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The factory book solution is to remove the power train then replace the head gasket and head bolts. I recommend that you timesert all of the head bolt holes whenever you have the heads off. Because of the need to timesert the heads, you really need to take the power train out of the Cadillac. The head bolts on the Northstar are not re-usable.

Also see: http://www.caddyinfo.com/nsrepair.htm

There are a couple of alternate approaches, although you still have to remove the powertrain for any. One alternate is http://www.northstarperformance.com who advocate a different process from the 'book' process, using studs.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Yup, big job. DO NOT attempt to save money by using Helicoils. They will pull. Use Timeserts or Norms inserts from Ebay (Norms have a coarser thread) or Jake's stud kit (best choice). Once done, it will be better than new.

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thanks for the help i really appreciate it..now wold you recommend the norms from ebay over the Timeserts then? i was lookin at the jakes stud kit but im kinda on a budget right now so i wanna get ones that'll last for alil while until i can get extra money n just rebuild the motor. Hopefully with in 7-8 months i gonna start doin that but for now i just wanna be able to get around.

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thanks for the help i really appreciate it..now wold you recommend the norms from ebay over the Timeserts then? i was lookin at the jakes stud kit but im kinda on a budget right now so i wanna get ones that'll last for alil while until i can get extra money n just rebuild the motor. Hopefully with in 7-8 months i gonna start doin that but for now i just wanna be able to get around.

This is a job that you only do once, you don't do it cheaply and then go back and do it 'right'

All of these solutions are in the same ballpark money wise. You need to do some research, they each have their own benefits. Timesert was developed by GM, it is the 'official' fix. The block holes are drilled and tapped for an insert that is threaded into the block, the head bolt now pulls the 'sert'. The benefit is that the head bolts don't gall, the block aluminum as they are torqued.

The same goes for the studs, they are screwed into the block and the nuts apply clamping pressure. I dont know the details but the studs are larger in diameter, but I am not sure if they are larger than the outside diameter of a time sert.

To me each method has its positive attributes. Dragsters use studs as the engines are broken down between runs. Timeserts are locked into the block using a high temp thread locker, so they should stay in the block if the bolts should ever need removing again. If a timesert fails, there is a BIGSERT to fix that.

It is not advisable to leave the engine in place to do a headgasket. Either the engine must be removed from the top or the engine carriage must be dropped. I personally think for the driveway DIY mechanic pulling the engine from the top makes sense and then attaching the engine to an engine stand.

The key to all if these methods is that the block aluminum material must not be deteriorated from corrosion or excess heat, if it is anything you screw into the block will pull out like butter.

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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thanks for the help i really appreciate it..now wold you recommend the norms from ebay over the Timeserts then? i was lookin at the jakes stud kit but im kinda on a budget right now so i wanna get ones that'll last for alil while until i can get extra money n just rebuild the motor. Hopefully with in 7-8 months i gonna start doin that but for now i just wanna be able to get around.

From what I have hear, Norms are better because they have a coarser thread pitch, which is what GM eventually went to in '04.

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  • 5 months later...

thanks for the help i really appreciate it..now wold you recommend the norms from ebay over the Timeserts then? i was lookin at the jakes stud kit but im kinda on a budget right now so i wanna get ones that'll last for alil while until i can get extra money n just rebuild the motor. Hopefully with in 7-8 months i gonna start doin that but for now i just wanna be able to get around.

From what I have hear, Norms are better because they have a coarser thread pitch, which is what GM eventually went to in '04.

Just finished a Time-Sert job on mine! TIME-SERT J-42385-2000 Northstar Kit up for grabs!

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  • 5 months later...

did you find it easy to do i mean the drilling for the time serts and putting the timing chain back i have the same car and my heads went i spent 1400.00 on a used motor with 77000 miles but i still have the old motor thinking of fixing it for a spare bought the car 4 200.00 bucks really clean old motor had 115000 on it and a little sluggy inside

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