1996 Cadillac Eldorado ETC 4.6 North Star from North America
Good till it breaks
I just purchased this car a little over two weeks prior to today's date, which is 12-19-10.
I purchased the car, knowing that there was a "small overheating problem" according to the dealer. I test drove it, but not enough to tell really.
First night, I had it going down a hill that has a length of two miles, and the car began to over heat badly. Stopped, let it cool down for twenty minutes, and asked my neighbor to bring me a gallon of water so I could make it to Advanced Auto. Continuing down the hill was a bad idea; even in freewheeling, it began to over heat about three miles away from my house. I had to stop a third time. Finally, the last mile, I finally made it to the parts store. Bought three gallons of coolant and it gladly sucked down the two I put in it. Topped off with 6 oz of water.
Drove to my girlfriend's; about 1.5 miles from Advanced. Parked it, went in, got her and headed back out. Turned the key on, and it said check coolant level, turned the key off, popped the hood and turned the cap with a rag. Massive amounts of steam and what I passed as "air" flowed out along with some coolant. Topped it off with one more gallon of coolant.
The next morning, went out, started it for work and it had a very hard time starting. Finally cranked enough to pop. Backed it out and the coolant light came back on; this time I opened it, only "steam" and "air" came out; the coolant was bone dry. I noticed though that the steam and air smelt like exhaust horribly. I knew what that meant. Failed head gasket getting into the cylinder. Went back, smelt the pipes, and they were very sweet smelling. Just like coolant.
Finally I got the emissions test done on the coolant; just like I thought, aha. Got Thermagasket, thought it would help, put it in, drove around, and guess what, my engine finally seized from it. Getting my money back from the dealer and from Thermagasket, and getting my truck finally, a Dodge 2500 Cummins 24v; my father's got a 95 and a 05, never had a problem with either, not even in the 605,291 miles on the 95. Only oil changes and u-joint changes from hauling so much with it.
Very fast car, very luxurious car, very bad engine. Stay away from North Star; the block is untapped aluminum. The block strips out and you have to take the engine out, take the head off, and drill and studkit the engine block to repair properly; a job for a mechanic to do; totals no less than 10 hours of project time, and a price tag no less than 2300. If you can tackle it yourself, it costs around 650 to 700 dollars (studkit cost 550 off the studkit website) and your choice of gaskets.
Oh, and also don't forget to free up at least 3 weekends in a row to finish it for you working folk.
I still love Cadillac, but I absolutely hate the Northstar. Will only look at an Escalade or CTS (standard or v edition) or any of the models that carry the FWD V6 application (SRX FWD). Stay away from Northstars, they don't last!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th December, 2010
Those cars had very strong engines, and in great running condition, it would out run a cat chasing a rat. I've owned three of those. The one thing you could not do with that car was run it hot. If you have cooling problem, you might as well go completely through the cooling system and I do mean completely, I would even recommend an upper engine rebuild if you are going to drive it on a regular. I got 375000 out of my 85 Sedan Deville. Really wish I could find another one in great condition.