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Head gaskets

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I hear that alot of people have problems with there head gaskets and that there awfuly pricy to replace do they go on most of the Northstars? How can you tell if they have been replaced or not?

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Defending Northstar perf a qtr mile at a time!!!!

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You'll hear stories about head gasket failures from 50K miles and up.

Considering the higher miles that can be squeezed from a Caddy on average, it seems to skew the perception that the engines have a "high" incidence of head gasket failure. If maintenance (or lack of) is taken into account, the Northstars seem to do pretty good.

I comment on this because I have a '97 Deville that has 130K miles and recently lost a head gasket. The water pump belt let go and the engine overheated - sending a (probably weak) head gasket to failure. I've been bugging the great guys on this forum for info on pulling the engine - at least until my Helms manual gets here (hopefully next week! :D ). I hope I can repay a few people for the help with what I learn on this model.

Repair costs vary widely based on how deep the repairs go. Patch up on the easy-to-reach front head? Cost might be within a $1,000. Pull the whole engine and rework all the failure-prone stuff to squeeze another 100K miles out of the car? - $4,500 to $6,000.

I'm in the $2,500 - $3,000 range since I am pulling my engine and reworking everything in the engine compartment for a long-term (re) use of the car - but then again, it's my "hobby car" (I bought my wife an '02 Deville), I'm taking my time in the garage on weekends - and I'm not paying myself GM technician wage.

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