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97 deville overheating...


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97 with 135 thousand, have had it a month. all 4 o2 sensors are giving codes, the original owner had green coolant in it, it runs great but it over heated on me last night to the point where it told me to stop and idle which i did and it got even hotter. then it said shut off immediatly i did. called for help a friend brought water (didnt have coolant and it was 3 am) and an hour later popped the cap it was EMPTY i put 2 gallons of strait water in it and a friend followed me home it only got up to 196 the rest of the way home. today i went to town to get coolant and it was fine still full. i double checked the oil was clean no coolant and a little bit of crud in the water in the over flow tank but not bad i headed 20 miles into town and it was fine i got the coolant and headed home started up the hill and it went hot fast ended up stopping again and it was empty again. i had 2 gallons of water and 2 gallons of coolant with me i popped the top (was reading 260 on dash and bitching to change the oil that was a week old lol) there was nothing in the tank but pressure even at 260 yes i know it was stupid to open it but i suspected it would be empty. could find no leaks under the car, no steam i mean come on 2 gallons in 25 miles? didnt want to waste the coolant so i filled slowly with 2 more gallons of water and drove home with the cap off thinking maybe if there is no pressure it wont dissappear. i spent pretty much everything i had buying this thing i needed reliable transportation i got a cadillac, if i wanted head aches i would have kept my other peice of *smurf*. is there a way i can tell if its a head gasket for sure? it seems to get HOTTER while it idles than it does going down the road. i cannot afford a head gasket so should i put this on ebay and hope i can find somone as stupid as i was and then buy a toyota or somthing not made in the us? i mean honestly im a patriot but i need to get to my *smurf* little job so i can pay my bills i dont need this crap.

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First off, not to be rude, but starting out with a negative attitude typically doesn't get anyone far. Not just here, but in any situation. I understand you are upset, as does everyone else here. This group is like family, and we work very hard to help each other out...so please, out with the negativity?

There are many things that can cause overheating. A bad head gasket won't cause the amount of coolant loss you are describing until the car is pretty much un-driveable. It sounds more like an external leak or loss of pressure to me. Driving without the cap on is NEVER a good idea. Coolant and water boil at lower temps when they aren't pressurized. The first thing I would do is pull your diagnostic codes and post them here. It's a very simple task. You can find directions here if you need them http://www.caddyinfo...adingcodes.html

The next thing I would do is fill it with a 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water, or the pre-mixed coolant if you so choose. The correct fill level is about 1 1/2 - 2 inches below the neck of the tank. When you put your cap on, be absolutely sure it is on all the way. There is an arrow on the cap that MUST be lined up with the small rubber hose that comes out of the neck right under the cap. If this isn't lined up then the cap will allow coolant to blow out of the purge line rather than the system building pressure as it should.

If all seems alright with the cap, let the car run at idle until it heats up. If the warning comes on, then turn it off of course to prevent damage...but with it running look under the hood and under the car and see if you can see a leak anywhere. If it's losing that much coolant/water, there has to be a visible sign of it somewhere.

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Carla your absolutely right, and I apologise for the attitude. I'm terrified not angry. I am in a bad way my company down sized I lost my job, had to take a min wage job. Subsequently couldn't afford my car payment so I had to surrender my car. I found this caddy on Craigslist for 2 grand in very nice condition. I know it was a good deal but see that 2 grand wiped me out as hard as that is to admit to anyone. I have in a year gone from being head computer system analysist of a large company to 2 thousand dollars in my account and a crappy apt. Please forgive me I just don't know what to do, if I miss work ill lose this job. If this thing needs more than a hundred dollars I won't be eating in Nov if it needs more than 300 ill be living in it in Nov. And if it needs more than 500 I may as well run a hose from the tail pipe in the back window and die in it lol that was supposed to be funny I don't need to be put on suicide watch, but I am in a desperate situation. I checked the small hose from the tank and it is peeing coolant so that's not it. I left the cap off and fired it up and let it idle. I watched in the tank with a light and kept checking the temp on the dash. It slowly went up to 168 before any movment in the tank was visible. I'm assuming the tank level rising and flow being seen is evidence the t stat had opened. It slowly went up to 204 and I noticed the fans weren't running. They should be at 204 right? I know the fans are forced on when the ac compresser is on so I turned on the defroster and the fans came on, the cap was still off and at 200 when the t stat would open coolant would continually rise and leak out the overflow tube. Well with the ac on and fans running the coolant would rise to the bottom of the bottle neck and not leak out the overflow. I looked at the temp and it had gone down to 194. And seemed to hold there so to test it I shut the ac off anď sure enough the fans stopped it went up to 204 and coolant began running out the overflow again. I turned ac back on the fans spun up and in 2 minutes it was back down to 194. Now this seems to be a fan actuator or temp sensor problem. I'm thinking if it will cool ay idle once the fans are running maybe that's all that's wrong? I'm a do it yourself kind of girl even when I wasn't broke but I can't afford a sensor and a manual both this month. I could jumper the fans directly to ignition power but if somone can tell me If they think this will fix it and where the temp sensor or relay is ill opt for the part now and treat myself to the manual next month. I was afraid to test drive it because it was getting dark and if it quits on me I have nobody to call for help. Buy does this seem like maybe its all that's wrong? Keep in mind its now mostly strait water no coolant and I didn't have the cap on when I tested it at idle. If I run a bottle of radiator flash through it then drain it and refill it with premix and put the cap on it should cool even better right? Also previous owner used green ethos glycol coolant in it should I flush and go back to Orange? Thanks again and one mote time I'm sorry I came off like a b. I hope you guys will still give me a chance. I sold some of my things on eBay and order an obd2 scanner ill post codes when I get it. Thank you again.

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97 Pearl,

You DO NOT NEED a OBD scanner.

Your Cadillac has a much better one already built in.

See Carla's post above for direction on how to pull codes from your car.

We will try to help you diagnose it and fix it.

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Ok. There are a lot of things going on here..

When you say there was coolant flowing from the small hose, are you referring to the overflow hose under the cap? If so, there should NOT be coolant coming out of that hose if the cap is on properly. With the cap off, it's normal for that to happen because the cap is not there to allow the system to pressurize. If you are referring to the hose with a "bolt with a hole in it" near the water pump, then yes it should flow coolant.

The fans don't kick on until around 220-225 degrees. A temp as high as 230 at an idle can be considered normal. The fans should cool it back down.

My guess as of now, if there IS coolant coming from that hose with the cap on PROPERLY, would be that you have a bad cap. They are not expensive to replace.

There is no need to switch back to Dexcool (orange coolant). Dexcool is meant to have a longer change interval of about 5 years vs the 2-3 years recommended for green coolant.

Don't worry about the negativity. It's completely understandable! You are in a tough situation. And of course we will still do what we can to help you.smile.gif

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Well the only thing I can tell you for sure is it has to be venting out of the bottles overflow because there is no steam no smell and the only wetness. Is from the bottom of the overflow tube. In 20 miles it literally loses all of its coolant it gets up to 230 or so and then it stops blowing heat, then it spikes up to 255 to 260 I stop. Use a towl to open the cap and it will have lots of pressure but nothing comes out because its empty. I let it cool down with the cap off then it takes 2 gallons to refill it. It seems to be ok going to work but it starts to act up on my way home on a long hill. Today I drained it and filled it with premix and put a new cap on it, it seemed pretty much the same it made it to work ok and was fine on my way home nut as soon as I reached the top of the hill it went from 196 to 255 in a mile even coasting down the hill in neutral. The the heat blew cold air I stopped and it was empty. No steam n it was upper 30s here today so if I peed on the parking lot next to it the urine would have steamed you would think if. 983 degree urine steams 265 degree coolant should if it were leaking out yet I find nothing wet except the bottom of theu overflow tube.

Carla thank-you and yes I pulled the hose off the tank side of the bottle the self bleeding line and it does pee a stream. I'm pretty sure the t stat works. Please god tell me anything but head gasket. I get no white smoke the exhaust smells like cherry which seems normal. There is no water in oil and no oil in the water. The coolant appears to be venting out of the overflow tube and I say that because it hangs low enough to spit up under the car without leaving evidence and because its wet on the end. I tried to get codes but couldn't figure out what buttons to push

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Check your water pump belt and tensioner to make sure the belt is good (no cracking or voids) and that the belt tensioner is applying good tension and not binding

If that is ok, the problem you are getting is a classic head gasket problem, climbing a hill and having overheating, have your coolant checked for combustion by products and have a compression test done on your engine.

You can start by waiting until your engine is cool, take the cap off the tank, and SMELL the coolant, if it smells like exhaust fumes you have a breached head gasket

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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Do as BBF said and have a block test done or rent the kit from Autozone or any other parts store that has a rental program, but do not run the test right after adding coolant. That can give you a false negative. Do it after an overheat. Sorry to say this, but like BBF said, you have classic HG symptoms. I suspect the seller new what he was unloading.

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yeah the coolant tank smells of exhaust. there is no oil in it but a carbony looking black stuff in the water. well i would do the garden hose in the back window lol but i would have to keep getting out to put more coolant in it. :) im not sure what to do im completely broke i spent what little i had on it i cant do a head gasket in my driveway i doubt i can afford to have it done. ill ask around for prices but i think im done for :( i hate to shine it up and sell it on ebay to another unsuspecting person but it seems like being honest gets you where i am these days, thanks guys i appreciate the help anyway.

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i figure i probably already know but ill ask anyway ... will this work? http://www.heal-a-se.../NorthStar.html

It won't work for any length of time

You might look into finding an engine in a scrap yard, but make sure it was tested

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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Good thought but I couldn't tell this one was bad running in the car, I'd end up getting screwed again. I think I better look into either getting it fixed or trying to recoup some of my money and buy something less expensive to repair or less problematic. I really thought being a luxury car especially aCadillac the flagship of American autos it would be very well built. When I was a kid I had an 85 new worker turbo and it was I put 220 thousand on it and walked away from a head on collision with a drunk in a pick up. I should have researched it more I didn't I just bought because I believed in the name. I really appreciate the help guys and if o can find a shop that will do payments ill let you know. If i can get it fixed should I get those special bolts from that company in canada?

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May I ask what state you live in? Some states have a "lemon law" which forbids people from selling you a car without informing you of problems. If you live in such a state, then you could get the money back by going to court.

Mike, I know that she has some typical HG symptoms...but would a head gasket cause such a large amount of coolant to be lost in such a short time?

As for Cadillacs being well built, they are. The early years Northstar did have more head gasket problems than is typically considered "normal", which is why proper coolant system maintenance on these engines is an absolute necessity. In my opinion, whether we will ever know for certain whether the head bolts pull and cause the breach, or the breach causes the bolts to pull is kind of a "chicken or the egg" deal. Once the damage is done, it is almost impossible to tell which came first.

I'm not gonna lie to you, getting a HG repaired is NOT cheap by any stretch of the imagination. The block MUST be timeserted or studded for the new gaskets to hold up. It's a lot of work and a very tough job...one I hope I will never have to delve into, but if I do, then so be it. You will likely pay more for the HG job than you did for the car in the first place, but once it's done you will have a trouble free car for many years to come.

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P.S. I love the way the Heal-a-Seal page there makes it sounds like GM intentionally made the Northstar to fail catastrophically as if it were some ploy to gain a crapload of money off it. Sheesh!huh.gif

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It must be compressing the water jackets more than the cylinders. Hey maybe I should just put the fuel in the radiator then I could fill the fuel tank with water, a few lines rerouted and it may be able to make a round trip to work! I was worried about the fuel mileage being around 24 mpg at 3 bucks a gallon lol that's nothing compared to 15 miles per gallon of prestone at 12 dollars a gallon. This situation is so horrible It's actually kind of funny! When I saw the ad and the name which I actually associated with superior quality them saw the car and how well taken care of it was and the price was exactly what I had to spend I thought my luck was changing :) Had I done any research at all instead of assuming the name meant built like a tank I wouldn't be in this mess. if you do a web search for Cadillac the top 6 pages that come up are head gasket related. Maybe I should get full coverage on it and forget to put it in park at the boat launch at lake Erie and see if can find enough water there. The older gentleman I bought it from last words were you will have many trouble free miles with this. Lol he is a preacher lol.

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If she is smelling exhaust fumes in the coolant tank, what happens is that superheated gases get into the cooling system and boil the coolant, she is probably blowing the cooling out of the cap as pressure spikes due to boiling.

Obviously, a cooling system pressure test to check for leaks and combustion by products test of the coolant is necessary, but the symptoms are not good

As far as trusting the 'name' cadillac, my friend recently was going to buy a Ferarri, you can't get a better name than that, and it needed $15,000 worth of work. ANY car can be a headache regardless of their name, even more common cars such as Infiniti's, I am working on an I30 right now, that has gotten continuous CAT codes for a year and is going through O2 sensors. Unless you buy a new car with a warranty, all cars have problems. The next car you buy, take a knowledgable mechanic with you and search the internet for common problems. I myself would find buying a used Cadillac a daunting experience

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 really thought being a luxury car especially aCadillac the flagship of American autos it would be very well built. When I was a kid I had an 85 new worker turbo and it was I put 220 thousand on it and walked away from a head on collision with a drunk in a pick up. I should have researched it more I didn't I just bought because I believed in the name. I really appreciate the help guys and if o can find a shop that will do payments ill let you know. If i can get it fixed should I get those special bolts from that company in canada?

When I saw the ad and the name which I actually associated with superior quality them saw the car and how well taken care of it was and the price was exactly what I had to spend I thought my luck was changing :) Had I done any research at all instead of assuming the name meant built like a tank I wouldn't be in this mess. if you do a web search for Cadillac the top 6 pages that come up are head gasket related. Maybe I should get full coverage on it and forget to put it in park at the boat launch at lake Erie and see if can find enough water there. The older gentleman I bought it from last words were you will have many trouble free miles with this. Lol he is a preacher lol.

You bought a 13 year old car with unknown maintenance history... do not condemn the brand because you're having issues with it. It is unfortunate the seller was so dishonest.

You have verified the purge line is clear - have you tested the coolant for combustion gasses? That is the next step. If the headgaskets are shot, it is not the end of the world - the engine can be repaired and will last several hundred thousand more miles.

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

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If i can get it fixed should I get those special bolts from that company in canada?

You'll either need Jakes stud kit or inserts from Norm (Ebay) or Timesert (and I would suggest them in that order). If you have it repaired, the shop may already have the inserts on hand. Just be sure to ask if they are knowledgeable about the Northstar (aware of the need to insert all 20 bolt holes) and have done this repair before (on a Northstar).

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You bought a 13 year old car with unknown maintenance history... do not condemn the brand because you're having issues with it. It is unfortunate the seller was so dishonest.

You have verified the purge line is clear - have you tested the coolant for combustion gasses? That is the next step. If the head gaskets are shot, it is not the end of the world - the engine can be repaired and will last several hundred thousand more miles.

I'm not condemning the brand i already said it was my own fault, had i looked into it more i would have known they tend to have issues like this and i would have looked in the overflow tank with a flash light for residue instead of just eyeballing it for liquid level, i would have driven it like it says on some pages to test with 35 to 70 hard accelerations and watched the temp gauge. the reason i didn't look them up on the net to see if people were having problems is because of the name, i didn't think stuff like this happened to Cadillacs. i know things go bad no matter what brand but i really didn't think Cadillac would allow an engineering problem to exist. i figured any issues someone would have with engineering would be dealt with by the warranty end or on recall. i found a shop thats going to do the job and let me make payments, i cant pick it up till its paid for but at least i can get it done. they use time serts should i request the other studs? yes i checked the purge line its peeing coolant and i dont need a test kit to tell you there is combustion gasses in the tank i can see the smoke and smell the fumes. just by letting it overheat and popping the cap its not steam that comes out its fumes and if you start the car in the morning with the cap off it smokes out of the over flow tank smoke... not steam.

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i really didn't think Cadillac would allow an engineering problem to exist. i figured any issues someone would have with engineering would be dealt with by the warranty end or on recall.

Where is it said that this is an engineering problem? Did someone here say that?

If this happened at 25,000 miles it would have been taken care of, you bought a 13 year old car here, with how many miles on it?, without having the car checked out. Personally, I'd be driving it back to where you bought it

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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One more thing, you need to be very careful having this block timeserted, if it has been overheated badly it can damage the block aluminum and the aluminum can turn to dust and not be able to be drilled and tapped.

You need to make it clear to the mechanic when he does the job that UNLESS the material that he drills looks like aluminum, to STOP timeserting the block. Not all blocks can be timeserted. We have a thread on this issue, if you want I will find and link you to it

How many Northstar blocks has this mechanic timeserted did you ask?

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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they use time serts should i request the other studs?

Studs are probably the best, but may be more expensive. Personally, I'd prefer Norm's inserts as they have a coarser thread pitch (as do the studs). Since he already has the Timesert installation tools, the inserts are only $10 each. Not sure what he needs to use Norm's inserts. He might need a new installation kit which would be more money. The stud kit runs about $500 I believe. http://www.northstarperformance.com. You might discuss it with your mechanic.

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"I really thought being a luxury car especially a Cadillac the flagship of American autos it would be very well built."

The car IS well built. Unfortunately some have problems - despite what you read on the internet, not all Cadillacs have headgasket issues. The internet will exaggerate the frequency of issues as people rarely go on the internet to brag how reliable their car is - they go on there when they have problems.

Back to the problem at hand... Make sure the shop doing the work warranties the work. If they won't give you a warranty, find another shop to do the work. If the oil pan is all wet with oil, have them replace the oil manifold plate, rear main seal, front crank seal and re-seal the crankcase halves per the latest GM bulletin. Then you will have a leak-free engine that will last more than 250,000 miles.

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

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"I really thought being a luxury car especially a Cadillac the flagship of American autos it would be very well built."

The car IS well built. Unfortunately some have problems - despite what you read on the internet, not all Cadillacs have headgasket issues. The internet will exaggerate the frequency of issues as people rarely go on the internet to brag how reliable their car is - they go on there when they have problems.

Back to the problem at hand... Make sure the shop doing the work warranties the work. If they won't give you a warranty, find another shop to do the work. If the oil pan is all wet with oil, have them replace the oil manifold plate, rear main seal, front crank seal and re-seal the crankcase halves per the latest GM bulletin. Then you will have a leak-free engine that will last more than 250,000 miles.

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Wow so in addition to the head bolts ripping themselves out the holes turn into powder and that .means what it can't be fixed? So illl make payments for 3 month and it will just do this again? Honestly should I just junk this thing and save up for something else? I know the net exagerates problems like this but even here on the forum a lot of others have gone through this so regardless of whether you say its a design flaw or not it certainly isn't a fluke either. EBay and Craigslist is full of them with overheating issues. And yes body by fisher we have established I was an idiot I bought a 13 year old car with 135 grand on it. I needed a car I trusted the name I didn't go armed with the knowledge I should have. I can't afford to pay these guys to pull this thing apart only to find out the block is turned into powder. everyone keeps saying they are well built Except for this one thing with the bolts ripping out and the block turning into powder. in my case from my stand point sorry but that's not unlike saying the titanic was well built too cept for that one thing.

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