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Getting ready to do a self Head gasket Job


sprinter10

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I Have been reading and seeing a lot of people talking about the different brand threaded inserts with Different Thread pitches etc. Different installation kits.

Time-sert (2 different thread pitches available?)

GM has an insert that didn't last as good?

Studs? http://www.northstarperformance.com/sgstuds.php These are $550 for the studs with the kit seems a little pricy

I was thinking about buying a used install kit for the time-sert inserts or buying a new one and selling it after the job? If anyone has one from when they might have did it themselves.

Head gaskets, Different main seals etc that should be replaced while doing this job. I have as much time as needed to get information and do this job right. I have a GM Service manual.

I plan on picking the body up off of the engine, trans, front subframe with a car lift.

I don't have a lot of money to waste on things and will like everyones info on cheap prices, good parts, and tricks to pull this off.

I plan on keeping this car for many more miles.

This is my first time doing a job to this degree but have people around me that have pulled motors and worked at gm dealerships, own repair shops etc.

The car is a 2000 cadillac sts with 118,000 miles Vin 9.

It is at very early stages of head gasket. No smoke No water consumtion just preashure in the coolant system, eghaust smell in coolant tank and random overheating.

I know that when alunimum gets warm it swells andthe hole actually widens unlike steel where the hole gets smaller. With that in mind I was thinking with how cold it is outside and in my garage even when I turn the heat on the engine will be cold so I was thinking after the engine is out to bring it inside for a couple days before I go to drill, tap, and insert. Idk if this is important or applies in this case this was just something i was thinking about. I don't want to take any chances.

Any more things like Oil pan seal thats good to do while engine is out I want to doo. I will start getting everything together with a list of what I have and what I still need to get always adding to it. After I have everything I need I will start the job. By then I will have time to study the service manual and know what I am getting into.

Some pictures of the car.

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Cleaned up the headlight lenses when I got the car.

74169_465223494241_637739241_5449324_2051100_n.jpg

164363_482555489241_637739241_5693602_5935760_n.jpg

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When taking the engine out and doing this job do you guys sugest to replace timing chains or are they good? Just want to cover anything I can I know Timing belts have to be regularly replaced and if not they can grenade a perfectly good motor. My dad has done this to a 1993 audi 2.3L V-6.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/00-01-4-6-L-CADILLAC-SEVILLE-HEAD-GASKET-SET-NORTHSTAR-/190470273530?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item2c58e9b9fa Complete head gasket kit for $100

Can they be trusted? there are other gasket sets of just 2 head gaskets for over $250 like this one. Has anyone tried the cheaper set and what was the outcome how did they look? Are they cheap because they were made in bulk in a low cost area or are they cheap because they lack quality. I have have see the get what you pay for is not always true as more expensive is not always better.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/COMETIC-HEAD-GASKETS-CADILLAC-NORTHSTAR-4-6L-/370357830017?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item563b0c0181

Edited by sprinter10
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Aluminum, just like steel or cast iron expand when hot, just at different rates. No nee to take thee engine inside to warm it up.

Your engine does not have a timing belt. It has chains that are good for the life of the engine. No need to change them.

Never heard of those gaskets, though that does not mean much, but remember, you get what you pay for. I'd be more inclined to pay more for quality gaskets. Don't want to do this job twice.

I'm not even sure if Timesert sells the original inserts anymore. They may all be the coarser thread pitch. If both are available, be sure to use the coarser ones or Norm's inserts (they have the coarse thread) as do Jake's studs.

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Buy your parts from www.gmotors.com. You can get OEM parts at wholesale prices. Considering the amount of work it takes to pull the powertrain and install timeserts, etc., I would not be buying no-name parts on ebay or taking any shortcuts.

The timing chains do not require replacement - they are good for the life of the car, unlike timing belts. You need to check the hydraulic tensioner on the intermediate chain - that tensioner may exhibit more wear than the others considering the angle that the chain contacts the tensioner foot.

You need to use the Timeserts that are for your engine - the Timesert website will list the kit you need for your car. You MUST replace the headbolts when doing the job. The OEM gaskets come with new bolts. If you use Felpro gaskets, the bolts are sold separately.

Replace the oil manifold plate while the engine is out and the front and rear main seals as well as the intake manifold gaskets, water crossover gaskets, exhaust pipe graphite donuts, and timing cover gasket. The GM rear main seal is now a cartridge type seal. You will need a special tool to install it. It may be feasible to take the engine to a Cadillac dealer and have them install the rear main seal. The special tool MUST be used to install the cartridge seal as it is an interference fit to the crankshaft and the crankcase.

The GM sealant must be used as outlined in the service bulletins. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE GM SEALANT. The sealant is used for the oil manifold plate, oil pan, and crankcase halves. You need to use the sealant for a leak free engine.

If the rear heater pipes are rusted, the time to replace them is when the engine is out of the car.

If the car exhibits a chuggle in the drivetrain and code P0741 is set - either current or history, replace the torque converter and the seals inside the transmission.

This is not an easy job but I think it is worth it in the end. I would do another one if I found a deal on a car with blown headgaskets.

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

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Thank you guys very much!! A lot of information there I am making a bullited list to reamember everything. As for the trans and torque converer the engine takes off great smooth and does not slip at all in any gear shifts great through the gears then at around 47mph the torque converter locks. and will stay locked until around 44mph then it unlocks again unless you hit the gas a little more. I have done a couple full throttle passes from 10-60 first to 2nd gear shifts really smoth.

Would it be worth getting a know milage engine from a junk yard that has a bad headgasket for cheap and doing the time-sert job+ seals ad everything then just swapping engines. Possibly rebuild the head gasket time-sert job in the removed engine then selling it? Or keeping it as a spare for a future cheap cadillac find, or the 1989 Monte Carlo SS that is sitting out in the driveway with apuny 305 putting out 185 hp?

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You're not likely to find a cheap engine in the junkyard. Even if you did, being that it has been sitting for a prolonged period of time, there would be rust in the cylinders. Then you'd need to hone the cylinders, new rings, rod bearings, and main bearings. That's on top of the cost of the engine. The best option is to fix the existing engine.

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

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I thought Eristic head gasket set, who is eristic?

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080313203533AAPEIJn

http://www.d-series.org/forums/engine-building/118417-eristic-gaskets.html

http://www.mr2.com/forums/turbo-3s-gte/Toyota-MR2-37961-eristic-headgasket-set-other-optios.html

That job is too difficult to use an unknown ebay head gasket set, if you are not going to use OEM, the least I would use is Fel-Pro

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

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Having made the same journey you are considering; my sincere advice is, put a reman motor in the car if you can afford it.

There is too great a chance of other problems cropping up either during the Timesert job or in driving the car after the repair is made.

You have a nice car and it looks like it's worth having a reman motor installed with a warranty and so forth - and a lot less heartburn for you.

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Having made the same journey you are considering; my sincere advice is, put a reman motor in the car if you can afford it.

There is too great a chance of other problems cropping up either during the Timesert job or in driving the car after the repair is made.

You have a nice car and it looks like it's worth having a reman motor installed with a warranty and so forth - and a lot less heartburn for you.

I have tried to caution him on this job, even experience techs have regular failures doing this job, we currently have a member who had it done (timeserted) 18 months ago and it supposedly has a breeched head gasket again.

I considered doing this and spent a good bit of time on the phone with the timesert techs. What concerned me was finding deteriorated aluminum alloy when I drilled the holes because of what AJ found. Timesert confirmed that heat is this block's worst enemy and it turns the aluminum to dust and a cert will pull out just like a bolt if the aluminum is not healthy

I consider this job to be an advanced job and as much mechanical experience as I have had, I believe my skills would have been pushed to the limit, doing this job in my garage

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 agree completely. I know that my Timesert job was a lot of work and a lot of expense on a motor that didn't hold up afterward.

Really...If sprinter were my son I'd advise him to replace the motor or dump the car...

IMO poor cooling system maintenance is not the cause of headgasket/headbolt problems in Northstars. GM penny pinching, s**tty aluminum alloy, cheap head gaskets and CHEAP, poor quality, porous block castings from South America is.

The Northstar is a world class design executed poorly.

Edited by MrEldo97
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Get a grip on reality, folks!!....

Gaskets fail.

Bearings fail.

Brake pads are softer than brake rotors (for a reason).

The Space Shuttle vehicles are completely rebuilt between missions. Consumable parts have a finite life span.

Bad-mouthing the design and perpetuating the Internet mythology of the (now out of production) Northstar engine head gasket "failure", or even worse, condemning the manufacturing quality control / quality assurance of the block casting is not supported by the statistics (numbers).

Five, fifty, five hundred, or five thousand reported first person horror stories do not constitute a design or production method failure on the part of GM/Cadillac. Millions of Northstar engines were produced.

....Really...If sprinter were my son I'd advise him to replace the motor or dump the car...

IMO poor cooling system maintenance is not the cause of headgasket/headbolt problems in Northstars. GM penny pinching, s**tty aluminum alloy, cheap head gaskets and CHEAP, poor quality, porous block castings from South America is.

The Northstar is a world class design executed poorly.

Unsubstantiated generalities promote the Internet/urban mythology (which in turn reduces the value of your car and mine).

My long term, real world experience contradicts what you say.

With apologies to the original poster for this digression from his perceived problem.

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

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The problem is this, I love this engine, its outstanding

Mine lasted about 126,000 miles before the head gaskets went, that is good service and I drove it hard but didnt abuse it with sustained high RPM romps. Shockingly my 4T80E transmission remained perfect right till the end and all it needed was an ISS sensor, amazing considering the WOTs I did

In the old days as someone else recently mentioned, at 100K miles the junkyard was not far away and probably needed a tranny rebuild or had one already, the bodies rusted out, etc

When my head gaskets when bad, I basically babied my car, stayed out of traffic and never let the temp go above 225 and then I basically parked it. My block was a good candidate for timeserting. One of the trends we have noticed is that the rear head commonly needs a head gasket first and its thought that its due to the increased heat by the firewall.

I am not trying to upset any one, or dump on the Northstar at all, I love the engine and when my head gaskets went, if I had the energy and cash, I would have timeserted or studded my block, its a dream of mine. The Deville size of vehicle may never be built again and it was great on family trips

Look at this option

http://www.cadillacf...m/t-122168.html

If sprinter wants to tackle this job, he is young and has a support system of experienced people. Now is the time for him to take a risk like this, I rebuilt a 429 cu in Caddy during the summer between my junior and senior years in college. The knowledge gained alone is valuable. The car is a beautiful car also, why not

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 agree completely. I know that my Timesert job was a lot of work and a lot of expense on a motor that didn't hold up afterward.

Really...If sprinter were my son I'd advise him to replace the motor or dump the car...

IMO poor cooling system maintenance is not the cause of headgasket/headbolt problems in Northstars. GM penny pinching, s**tty aluminum alloy, cheap head gaskets and CHEAP, poor quality, porous block castings from South America is.

The Northstar is a world class design executed poorly.

There are issues with reman engines as well. One thread on this board dealing with a Jasper engine with low oil pressure. Reman engines use the same Timeserts in their process.

Block castings from South America???? The blocks are cast at the GM Powertrain complex in Bedford, Indiana.

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

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life is a crap shoot. you buy a car and soon after, the motor needs to be replaced. now that is an extreme repair for sure. does not happen a lot. a 2k sts bought recently might go for 5-6k? throw on a 4k motor job and you are talking real money. sell it for 1500? thats a pricey hit. seems very few folks here buy already bad cars and try to fix them. seems to be the other way around. buy a good car and than dump a bunch of money into it.

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Prematurely is a subjective statement, getting 127,000 miles and 13 years out of an engine is not bad if you ask me

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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After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster it was suggested cancer rates would double in the affected area. So . . . instead of risking a 1 in 2,000,000 chance of developing cancer, folk then had to contemplate a 1 in 1,000,000 cancer risk. All in all, still a very low risk.

So it is with Northstars having a higher risk of head gasket failure. In the end, the risk is still statistically small.

South American Northstars? Very urban. Very very legend.

Regards,

Warren

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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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I know there is someone that did the Timesert job and it did not hold up. I thought I read old posts where people were happy with the new timeserts? And happy with Doing them selfs to know that everything was done taking time and aligned properly. How about jumping right up to the big serts made by timesert. Seems like if you pull those you have something seriously wrong with the block that you should have saw before you did it. I do not see those big studds ever pulling out they are grabbing 2 inches of material with wide coarse threads. If everyone is now saying that the timeserts do not work even with the new course thread pitch and doing it yourself (I know some people had very bad experiences with repair shops doing the job and not taking there time with it.) I really don't know about the $550 just for the studs and kit. But I would not be buying a reman engine for this car. I love this car but with Racing I am not going to be putting over a thousand in the car. I have $1,460 in it If I put another $1,000 into it I will have around $2,500 witch seems good to me for this car. My friend is selling his 1998 deville witch does not half half the stuff my sts has and he is selling it for $3,000. The blue book sais my car is worth 5 to 55 hundred but I don't think I would be able to get that with these economy of course.

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Lots of pics in this thread that should be of some help. The Timeserts pictured are the older (finer threaded) ones, but you can see the difference between them and Norm's. Timeserts coarser threads should be similar to Norm's.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/133429-root-cause-head-gasket-failure-fix.html

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Thanks a lot I would not be able to even think about doing this job without the help frm all of you guys on here. I was talking to a couple of my family members while they were just over tonight and figured out that I am going to do the stud kit. Large diamater, course thread, and 2 inches of grab into the block looks to me like it has a lot more streanght then anything else out there. Plus not much more money then the time-serts after getting the install kit + new head bolts. I was on rock auto and saw the complete top end gasket set for only $140 from fel-pro.

Then whats left to get is

1. the main seals

2. The oil pan gasket

3. misc heater pipes

4. belts could b changed while the motor is out

5. Thinking about a water pump since it is like 30 bucks on rock auto.

What else would be on the list of things that should be changed. Are the motor mounts/chassis mounts good can you reause them?

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Do NOT use big serts from the start, you will have NO place to go if a standard timesert were to pull out

The important thing to me is to make sure that when you drill the block that you have good material.

It is also important to check for cracks, deck height and to install the serts correctly. We believe that many failures come from improper timesert installation.

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 am completly sold on the studs and think that they are the best way to go with the 2 inches they grab into the block should provide the best strength and insurence that the job is done right. I got the service manual on cd and it is very confusing to find how everything is placed but after you find the different sections I finnally found the engine swap section. with pretty detail steps with detailed graphics showing how to drop the drivetrain out the bottom of the car. Looks like after I read through it like 10 times and print it out+ laminate the pages for work in the garage.

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This is a couple of years old, but and interesting read. I disagree with the member that posted that the OEM bolts are "springy"

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/196527-jakes-sur-grip-stud-norms-ns300l.html

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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