Learning how to seal a head gasket on a Cadillac Northstar can possibly save you from being stranded on the road. The head gasket's main function is to provide a sturdy seal between the head and the block while preventing coolant and oil from entering their respective channels, causing contamination, excess engine wear and eventual failure. Symptoms of impending head gasket failure include frequent engine overheating, constant loss of engine coolant, coolant that’s contaminated with engine oil or puffy, white exhaust emissions, which can signify coolant entering and being burned within the combustion chambers.
Liquid gasket sealers can help temporarily seal most head gaskets, giving you enough time to take your Cadillac Northstar to a reputable mechanic for servicing. Gasket sealers are mainly sodium silicate solutions that work by filling in the cracks of your gasket, drying into a hard, glass-like substance that seals as it hardens. Gasket sealers can be found in nearly any auto parts store and in some larger retail stores.
What you’ll need:
- Liquid gasket sealer
- A drain pan (if you need to drain antifreeze)
- Preparing the gasket sealer. Some gasket sealers are compatible with antifreeze, while others require that all antifreeze be drained from the radiator. Always check the instructions for your gasket sealer for the recommended method of use.
- Adding the gasket sealer. For gasket sealer that’s compatible with anti-freeze, just pour the specified amount in the radiator. For non-compatible sealer, pour the sealer and a specified amount of water into the radiator. Put the cap back on the radiator and start the car.
- Sealing the gasket. Let the car idle for about 30 minutes with the heater activated and the fan on its highest setting. This should allow the sealer to settle within the cracks. Afterwards, drive the vehicle for about a day in order to fully seal the leak, working the engine vigorously in order to evenly apply the sealer. After a day or so, flush the coolant system and refill with antifreeze.
Gasket sealers may not work in cases where the cylinder head bolts on your Northstar have been stripped. This will cause the head to separate slightly from the block and without the proper amount of torque, the gasket sealer treatment will not work. In such cases, the bolts will have to be re-threaded, requiring a qualified mechanic to complete the task.