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No more Cadillac for me....


fredster

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'96 STS; 80,000 miles

Yeah, I know this is a frequent topic, but I will blow some steam.....

I just replaced the plugs, wires, EGR valve and altenator... THEN I discover I'm leaking coolant into the cylinders. Dealer says it's over $4000 for the timeserts. Doesn't take a genuis to figure out it's time to trade in for something else.

This is my 2nd cadillac. My 1st, a '97 black-on-black STS ( SWEET!!! ) was totalled when some jerk ran a red light and almost killed me. It had around 90,000 miles on it. I loved it so much that I bought another. But at less than 100K miles and a $4000 job.... well, cadillac is just too much of a risk for me and my wife. Think I'll go with one of the big three. And by that, I mean Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

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Hope the next car works out for you. I enjoy car shopping, just not paying for them.

Regardless of brand, if you want a car with no repair costs it is good to get a model that is still under warranty.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Hope the next car works out for you. I enjoy car shopping, just not paying for them.

Regardless of brand, if you want a car with no repair costs it is good to get a model that is still under warranty.

I get the 6 year 100K Mile and get out before time or miles hit

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So... Your first Cadillac saved your life. And your second Cadillac was victim to a problem that was very possibly caused by the previous owner, or previous service.

Those dang Cadillacs... :(

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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Hopefully when some jerk blows a red light next time, you survive the encounter with one of the big three vehicles, Good luck.

Realize that you purchased a car that you didnt know the history on..did you? Its 11 model years old and you don't know if the car seriously overheated or if the coolant was changed. And given that you jump ship so easily? Try not to badmouth Cadillac as you have done here to others based on your experience with a 1996 Cadillac with unknown history, its irresponsible and unfair. It might have had the problems when you purchased it.

If you frequent this site you know that the coolant looses its corrosion protection after 5 years or 100,000 miles and it can actually turn acidic after that. Its very possible that the coolant was never changed in the 96. What questions did you ask before you bought the car? Was the coolant changed twice at least? Did you get the maintenance records?

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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OK.....

I feel a little like a traitor. (even before your responses -- I really do love my STS)

I must ask though: everyone who loves Caddy and is a dedicated Caddy man/woman, do you think I should get the dealer to do the timeserts, find a cheaper mechanic to do it, trade for another Caddy, or what? :blink:

Just plain confused. Kinda feel like my girlfreind just cheated on me. :(

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OK.....

I feel a little like a traitor. (even before your responses -- I really do love my STS)

I must ask though: everyone who loves Caddy and is a dedicated Caddy man/woman, do you think I should get the dealer to do the timeserts, find a cheaper mechanic to do it, trade for another Caddy, or what? :blink:

Just plain confused. Kinda feel like my girlfreind just cheated on me. :(

That's OK, its a natural reaction to be angry. If you love your caddy, you will not be happy with one of the big three.

Personally, unless the 1996 is in mint condition its questionable as to whether you should spend that much on her. If it is in mint condition and by that I mean struts, etc., I think $4000 is a ridulously high price and i think you can get a better deal than that.... Check around for a better deal through a dealer. Maybe a few here and tell you what they paid... The figure of $2200 to $2500 comes to mind. You also can consider finding a low mileage engine in a scrap yard and have it installed.

What did you spend on the 96?

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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OK.....

I feel a little like a traitor. (even before your responses -- I really do love my STS)

I must ask though: everyone who loves Caddy and is a dedicated Caddy man/woman, do you think I should get the dealer to do the timeserts, find a cheaper mechanic to do it, trade for another Caddy, or what? :blink:

Just plain confused. Kinda feel like my girlfreind just cheated on me. :(

That is a tough question, and one that only you can answer, but like BBF said, I think you can do better than 4K if you choose that route. Just be sure whoever does it is familiar with the Northstar and that the price includes Timeserting all 20 head bolt holes.

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Just buy some head gasket sealer and give it a shot. Follow the directions to the letter. I know I always recommend giving the head sealer stuff a chance before dumping a car, especially if repairs cost well above what one's willing to spend. I just think getting rid of a car, especially a Cadillac, that may be repairable for about $10 dollars is a waste.

I've seen 2K - 2.5K for timeserts; but 4K is the highest I've seen.

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Ehhh I have been more than around the block with mine and Im not about to give up I get pissed off with it from time to time but its a cadillac. Was the coolant never serviced ???

However good luck in the next wreck with a your light weight rice burner!

Michael -

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OK.....

I feel a little like a traitor. (even before your responses -- I really do love my STS)

I must ask though: everyone who loves Caddy and is a dedicated Caddy man/woman, do you think I should get the dealer to do the timeserts, find a cheaper mechanic to do it, trade for another Caddy, or what? :blink:

Just plain confused. Kinda feel like my girlfreind just cheated on me. :(

Four grand for Timeserting is a ripoff. That car could be fixed properly for much less money. I bought a '97 STS in March and Timeserted it myself for about $800 in parts. Make absolutely sure that whoever you have repair the engine has done the job before. Where are you located?

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

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Just buy some head gasket sealer and give it a shot. Follow the directions to the letter. I know I always recommend giving the head sealer stuff a chance before dumping a car, especially if repairs cost well above what one's willing to spend. I just think getting rid of a car, especially a Cadillac, that may be repairable for about $10 dollars is a waste.

I've seen 2K - 2.5K for timeserts; but 4K is the highest I've seen.

"Repairs in a bottle" or "Hope in a bottle", call it what you want, will not fix a bad head gasket.

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Four grand for Timeserting is a ripoff. That car could be fixed properly for much less money. I bought a '97 STS in March and Timeserted it myself for about $800 in parts. Make absolutely sure that whoever you have repair the engine has done the job before. Where are you located?

I believe that $4000 is the standard stealership rate for timeserts..My H.G. job went $4000 and change...Warranty company covered nearly all of it though.....It would be interesting to compare a dealerships head gasket/t.s. bill to a local mom&pop shop's bill and see where the discrepancies are.

IMO the $4000.00 charge is nothing more than a clever "trade-in" incentive. Sure the dealership could fix it for less...But they would much rather sell new cars...Im sure it happens all the time..."Sorry bill but the head gaskets are blown..Going to be $4000 to replace them....Your probably better off trading her in on a new car...Well give you $_______ on a trade in on a brand new STS!".....

BTW my old dealership mentioned "trade-in" 2 or 3 times during our first discussion about my blown head gaskets... :rolleyes:

A.J.

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Many here have paid much less than $4000 for head gaskets at the dealer. Hell at $4000 you are getting close to installing a new engine. Did they do anything else to yours like case half seal?

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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Just buy some head gasket sealer and give it a shot. Follow the directions to the letter. I know I always recommend giving the head sealer stuff a chance before dumping a car, especially if repairs cost well above what one's willing to spend. I just think getting rid of a car, especially a Cadillac, that may be repairable for about $10 dollars is a waste.

I've seen 2K - 2.5K for timeserts; but 4K is the highest I've seen.

"Repairs in a bottle" or "Hope in a bottle", call it what you want, will not fix a bad head gasket.

The reason why I suggested using a sealer is because it's a possible alternative, especially if timeserts are not an option. Also, I have had success fixing a blown head gasket with Solder Seal/Block Seal, and I also read a post where a Cadillac owner sealed his Northstar with a head gasket sealer.

Obviously results can't be guaranteed. But these products have been on the market for many years. Whether such a product will work in a given situation, including for fredster, is anyone's guess.

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How many miles / years did the sealer hold up? The problem is that if the head gasket is leaking due to a pulled bolt, the head gasket in a bottle most likely will not work. The root cause of the failure can't be determined until the heads are removed. A concern I would have is getting the sealer out of the system.

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

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Well, a few facts to answer some questions you all had:

I paid about $9500 for the car in Sept 2004. The car only had 37,000 miles on it when I got it and was in excellent condition, so $9500 was a good price then. :D

Yes, the $4000 is a price from the dealership. And "stealershihp" seems appropriate in this case. AJ, it is hilarious how they mentioned "trade-in" several times while discussing the problem with you! :lol:

Around 6 months ago, the radiator was replaced, for those who asked if the coolant was ever changed.

I do a lot of my own work on my cars, but would never attempt this (although the concept seems straightforward and simple). In fact, like many of you are saying, I would make sure to get someone who I KNOW would do the job right. Unfortunately, I don’t know any local mechanics I trust other than the dealership.

Mark, Kevin, I’m extremely grateful for you guys offering to help, but I’m in Baton Rouge, LA – a little far from y’all. Thanks, though! ;)

MAC, I’m like Kevin…. I would like to know how well the sealer worked for you.

Fred

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How was the problem diagnosed? Did the dealership do a pressure test on all 8 cylinders? We've found that a common tactic is for dealerships to scare you with a big repair bill in an attempt to get you into a newer model. Yes, they're compromising the perception of the marque's reliability as they do this. Yes, it's a slippery business practice.

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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How was the problem diagnosed? Did the dealership do a pressure test on all 8 cylinders? We've found that a common tactic is for dealerships to scare you with a big repair bill in an attempt to get you into a newer model. Yes, they're compromising the perception of the marque's reliability as they do this. Yes, it's a slippery business practice.

Not to mention its illegal (as in fraud) for a dealership to deliberately misrepresent the extent of a repair. The attorney general of one's respective state and GM should be contacted if a Cadillac dealership misrepresents the extent of a repair--Don't tolerate it!

Regarding my use of Solder Seal/Block Seal, it lasted until I decided to rebuild the engine with new rings and bearings. How long it would have lasted, I can't say; but the head gasket leak was so bad water was literally coming out the exhaust pipe. I was surprised sealer worked.

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Hold on, wait a minute.......

I just remembered something. When the stealership put fresh coolant in when changing the radiator (about 6 months ago), I asked if they add a supplement to the coolant (specifically since I had read about it on this site). They said something like "oh, no, we never want to add anything to the coolant." Well, I just dismissed it as unnecessary and went on about my life. Could not adding supplement have actually caused this problem?

I actually read somewhere on this forum that not adding the supplement will actually do damage to the aluminum? True or not?

Is is possible the dealer could have caused this?

Also, if this has caused the problem, I wonder if adding the pellets now would help?

Also, if the dealer did add them, would it hurt to add them again? Basically, I want to assume the dealer didn't add them and put them in myself.

Fred

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Mac: I don't tolerate it. I just don't visit my dealer. :)

Fredster: We still need to know how the problem was diagnosed. How do you know the extent of the problem? Was a pressure test done on the system? How much coolant has it lost (if any) and how quickly? Does the car overheat? Is there white smoke/steam from the exhaust pipes?

It's possible that over time, the absense of the sealing tabs could contribute to a leak, but if the true problem is indeed a failed head gasket due to pulled head bolts, the sealing tabs would likely not have caused the problem (by not using them), and they likely won't fix the problem (by adding them now). They certainly can't hurt anything (they were installed at the factory), and they're only about 5 bucks from your dealership. I can't imagine getting rid of the car without even trying that, even if the odds are against it.

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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i would be curious to find out the value of this car when it is disposed of. is it sold outright, traded in, or something else? I talked to the owner of a 99 STS with bad headgaskets. he wants $5500 for it. he won't budge on the price and has been sitting on it for over a yr now. a 96 STS is worth maybe 6500 private party so subtract 3k as is and its worth maybe 3500 or so.

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