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Cadillac DeVille General Care & Maintenance



  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    If no coolant was added and the low coolant message has stopped, then probably your coolant is just at the low point. Some coolant loss over time is normal. The coolant level in the reservoir should be checked when the engine is completely cold, after sitting overnight for example.

    A leaky water pump should have left some evidence and since you are checking for an oil leak, I think that you should have seen something. If you are getting an oil change soon, you can have it checked out then. At this point I would not panic. They should put some coolant in though, to prevent additional messages. Then, you should monitor the coolant level for the next several weeks to be sure that coolant is not disappearing.

    I recomment monitoring the coolant level on a regular basis anyway, when the oil level is checked, like weekly or at least 2 to 3 times monthly.
  • geo9geo9 Posts: 739
    If your not seeing any leaks just chalk it up to
    a "glitch" on these new gadget laden vehicles !

    Sure you weren't out "driftracing" or doing a few
    WOT passes cleaning the carbon outta that N-star
    monster motor? I have to take out my moms DeVille
    and beat on it once in a while to clean it out!

    Most likely just the coolant in the res. just sloshing
    about and triggering the low coolant message.

    But before a wasted trip to the dealer keep a eye on
    your coolant level................. :shades:
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    I tried to remove the coolant cap after arriving home the day of the message, could not get the cap off for some reason. Was not to concerned in that it had been checked at a local service station. Are there any tricks to getting the cap off and of course back on? I looked at the owners manual before trying and seemed straight forward, it turned but didn't want to lift off so re tightened and will see if the message comes back. As I recall you also own a Deville of similar vintage, any tips on how to do this? Always enjoy and appreciate your posts.
  • geo9geo9 Posts: 739
    Never attempted to remove the cap off the coolant
    res. on my 03 DeVille.
    You should just be able to "eyeball" the coolant
    level and note the level. It should just unscrew
    off tho..................
    I would say its best to check when cold and engine
    not running.
  • 04cad04cad Posts: 131
    I think you push down and turn (righty tighty - lefty loosey) to the left and then push down again and turn to the left again... do it when the engine is off and the engine is cool to avoid possibly scalding hot steam and/or coolant rushing out of the opening. I have had two vehicles, GM products, where the coolant level showed fine in the overflow tank and yet when I removed the cap the coolant was actually low. The first sign was the heater not putting out as much heat as in the past. If my vehicles have a radiator cap, I now always check in the radiator also to be certain. Good luck Bob
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    The actual radiator cap (if there is one) on the northstar engines is located under a plastic cover, so the owner really does not have access. Only the cap on the coolant reservoir is removable, and this is a pressure cap, so the intelligent owner will only attempt to remove it when the engine is cold. The coolant level can only be determined accurately when the engine is cold anyway, so it is pointless to remove the cap when the engine is warm, and foolish to remove it when the engine is hot.

    My northstars have a reservoir that is transparent on the lower half and the coolant should be near the top of this transparent part when the engine is cold. When the engine is hot, the coolant level should be higher, possibly hidden in the opaque part.

    If the cooling system has a leak, then the reservoir may remain full while the radiator is low. This is so because as the radiator cools the leak lets in air instead of water from the reservoir.
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    I drove forty miles today and no more check coolant messages. I will probably make another attempt at checking the coolant level using the coolant reservoir cap. As indicated in the posts and the owners manual, I will only attempt to check when the engine is cold. The service station checked about three minutes after the engine was turned off and said that the fluid level was at the neck line. While this could well have been a false alarm, I take these messages seriously and will be following the advice given here, again many thanks to all who responded.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    You really do not need to remove the cap to see the coolant level. However, this morning I did remove mine with the engine cold. It simply unscrews. When replacing it, it will "slip" like the fuel cap when tight enough.

    As I said before, your cruise control problems might be an indication of wiring problems, and so if this was a false alarm, perhaps the wiring problem is speading. I do not put a high probability on this explanation however.
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    If the coolant message shows up again I will schedule a visit with one of the Dealerships. The cap on collant resevoir on my car fits rather tightly mush more than the gas cap. We will see if the error message comes up again, performance of the cruise is the same and having had it checked by two dealerships I suspect it is in the normal range.
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    Had the 2004 Deville in for regular oil change today. It turns out that the coolant level was a little low so in fact the computer message was correct when it posted the check coolant level about a month ago. When I stopped at a local service station when the message flashed they had said that the coolant level was okay but it was evidently low when we did the fluid checks today. Assume if the level had dropped to dangerously low levels the the engine temperature gauge would have risen or the service engine light would have come on. Assume all is okay now, when the message flashed again about a week ago I ignored it knowing I would be going in for an oil change today. I will take it more seriously in the future. The bottom of the car was also dry so the oil leak is evidently repaired. As some of you may remember one Cadillac dealership had put in to do a complete engine reseal but the second opinion at another Cadillac dealership was that oil filter adapter gasket repair had solved the problem and the oil remaining was a residue of the first leak. Cadillac was ready to do the reseal on the say so of the first dealer. It saved me a lot of time and Cadillac some money that I suggested that the car be checked at a second Cadillac dealership. Hope this information helps other owners in dealing with related problems. Also want to thank the many owners who responded to my concerns at this web site and forum.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    You should not get any low coolant messages for a long time now that the coolant level is full. If the coolant level falls in the next few months there is a leak somewhere.
  • 04cad04cad Posts: 131
    As I said in my earlier message, if anything occurs to suggest low coolant, regardless of what the reservoir shows, figure out how to check the actual level in the radiator or take it to someone who can check it. The reservoir does not always properly indicate the coolant level. I have found that to be true on at least two GM models I have owned in the past, one a Cadillac. One wonders why the dealership doesn't tell you that when you buy the car? Also we had one dealership do a transmission pan gasket replacement only to have the same thing suggested nine months later. When I mentioned that if it indeed was leaking they would be responsible for fixing it since it hadn't been a year since they supposedly changed it under the extended warranty, they rechecked and said the person who changed it last time must not have wiped the oil off of the pan. Hmmmm. Funny thing, we hadn't noticed a leak on the garage floor the first time and definitely not the second time. I think the dealership is doing better now, except maybe when you get an oil change and they don't grease the front end on newer Chevy trucks, and yes at least up through 2005 Chevy Silverados do still have several grease fittings to lube. Live and learn Bob
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    While we did check for leaks while the car was on the lift,
    we found none but in the event the check coolant message comes up again will get in to the more distant GM dealership ASAP. The original warranty runs out in July 2007 so I have
    a year and have purchased an after market warranty that runs to 100,000 miles and seven years. Car currently has 33,000 miles on it so my original warranty will run out on date rather than miles as I only expect to put about 10,000 miles on the car in the next year.
  • geo9geo9 Posts: 739
    If you have a 99 or up NBS GM truck check out and
    print this link for the oil change guy to locate
    and lube ALL the zerk fittings:
  • geo9geo9 Posts: 739
    BREM:........Still losing coolant? There is a hidden
    coolant return line to the overflow bottle.
    Could it be a loose clamp or even a cracked overflow
    bottle? Maybe a bad coolant res.level sensor.
    I read on the GM truck forums about many guys
    who have discovered cracks in the res. bottle itself.
    I know the newer Caddies and other GM vehicles
    don't have a rad. cap anymore.

    Luckily my 03 now has 41k troublefree miles............
    Keep us posted!
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    As I pointed out before, the radiator on the northstar engines is not something that the owner can get to. The radiator is under some shrouding and the cap, if there is one, is not accessable. Also, the so called reservoir is sealed and when the engine is warm/hot, the reservoir is under pressure. So, the only way to visually check the coolant level is by looking at the reservoir level.

    If the reservoir is cracked, it will, under pressure, quickly vent the coolant in the cooling system.
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    From what I can gather it was evaporation and not a leak we added a little dexcool at my oil change on Tuesday of this week. By the way after owning my Mercury Sable 2005 as second car for about four months I decided I wanted a real twin for my Deville. Was fortunate to Find a Limited Edition of Lincoln Town Car vintage 2005, got about what I paid for the trade on the Mercury. The Mercury is a fine car but the Lincoln is awesome with extras like a sun roof,
    in dash cd changer, automatic opening and closing trunk, many of these features were on my 98 Deville but not on the 2004. The Lincoln is more floaty but more quiet car than the Deville. The Towncar had 16500 miles at purchase and well under half the price, new in April of 2005. As you know the Deville engine is higher power rated but have been pleasantly surprised at the power the Towncar has especially from a standstill. Nice feature is also a button on the shifter that shifts the transmission out of overdrive into third gear for quick extra power. Like my 98 Deville it is in Gold which is my favorite color. The two cars look great parked next to each other in the garage. At this point I can't say there is a first or a second but both are tied for first. Only problem so far with Towncar is a slightly loose door handle strap on the driver door.
    It will be interesting to see how these two fine cars perform in both reliability overall. If you were wondering, I generally keep my cars for average of three years but I decided that I wanted a companion car more like the Deville.If there are other Deville owners that also own Lincoln Towncar would be interested in your experiences and comparisons.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    It is normal to add some (~1 pint) coolant after a year. The reservoir is sealed, so there should not be much evaporation.
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    Don't think that is in the owners manual, if it is I missed it. I bought the car at eleven months old so the additional pint you refer to may not have been added. The check coolant message has not come on since the service date five days ago, would guess they added the right amount of coolant. Check tire pressure message has come on several times during a mini heat wave we've had temperatures have been around 90 for a few days. When the message first came on a few weeks ago I dropped the pressure from 35 psi to 33and a half, guess it was not enough in that the message flashed again several times on past Saturday. I set the pressures with cold tires in the morning. The message comes on when the pressure hits 38 in any tire. Suspect the heat wave will be over in the next few days, but may have to drop them to 32 psi cold if check pressure message keeps flashing. I use an electronic pressure gauge to check pressures and in normal weather the gauge and the on board system are generally in 1/2 pound of each other. Any ideas or suggestions? Many thanks!
  • 04cad04cad Posts: 131
    I had a 2004 and now a 2005 Deville with the tire pressure system and it didn't matter if we went from Indiana to Florida or whether it was 15 degrees in the winter or 94 degrees in the summer we didn't get a tire message unless there was a significant difference in pressures from tire to tire. I wonder if you have a lot of moisture in your tire's air? Do you have a really good gauge? Do you do the manual tire pressure check in the car after setting pressures to see if your gauge matches what is in the tires according to the sensors? You may need to drive the car a bit to reset the sensors and then do the manual check with the button on the dash. This is something else you may want to take up with the dealer. Bob
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    What I was getting at, and I am sorry that you did not understand, although I am not surprised, is that adding 1 to 2 pints of coolant annually (that is after a 12 month period) is normal; BUT, adding a gallon every 12 months is not normal. I hope that this is clear?

    More to the point, adding 1 quart in the next 12 to 15 months is probably not anything to worry about. But adding 1 quart in the next 6 months is something to worry about.
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    I owned my 98 Deville for a little over three years and never added any coolant and never had any coolant messages. If your stats are correct why is that? It would seem to me that after three years a message would have appeared. The car also ran fine, the service dept would give me a report on fluid levels at oil change time and if any were added. Thanks again for the information.
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    This problem has only happened during the hot weather recently. The temperature has been about thirty degrees warmer than usual. The dashboard readings and my manual pressure reader are generally within a half pound of each other. We will see what happens after the heat wave. If the pressure reading warnings continue to appear I will check at the dealer. Many thanks for the response.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I don't think that you should need to add any coolant over a period of one year. My Seville had some transmission work done more that a year ago, and that required the engine/transaxle to be removed from the car, so the coolant was replaced. Since then the coolant level has remained completely full, up to the top of the transparent portion of the reservoir when cold.

    What you should do is monitor the coolant level, when the car is cold, and note when it starts to disappear. At that point you need to become concerned that a leak has started, or the water pump is beginning to fail.

    Someone I know has a 99 DeVille which had a water pump failure. After some period of time the DIC flagged the Low Coolant warning, so he had the dealer add more coolant. A few months later, the warning came back, and the service department knew that there was a problem, which should have been checked for sooner. The problem was a leaking head gasket, which they tried to replace, but there was so much corrosion that the engine was not repairable. The warranty was also expired.
  • bremertongbremertong Posts: 436
    As mentioned in a recent post I have recently purchased a Lincoln Town Car to use with my Deville. Since buying the Lincoln I have been using it almost every day in order to get familiar with it. As of today the Deville had not been out for five days. Both cars are kept in an insulated garage
    including insulated door. I wondered if there is any guideline as to how often the Deville should be started and or driven to avoid even minimal deterioration? I want to be quick to point out that I have no favorite between these two fine cars but the lack of usage for the Deville is temporary. All replies and suggestions appreciated.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Driving any car will cause deterioration. Not driving the car will not prevent deterioration. The best way to avoid deterioration is not to buy the car and walk.
  • I have to have the water pump replaced on my 96 deville. I have the water pump and the special tool. However, I do not have a manual to see if I am taking the right things off. I am wondering two things. One, I read on another forum that the engine needs to be jacked up about 4 inches to get the pump out.( I had never heard this before and am wondering if it is true.) and Two, If in fact it would be wise to replace the water pump belts while I have the cover open and how hard is it to do that? One of the other posts on this forum states that the dealer advised the customer that he needed to clean the grooves on the pulley when he replaced the belts. Is that necessary and what would one use to do that if it is so?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Most important thing - the water pump, with the special tool, has 'left hand' threads. Turn clockwise to remove. It only will need to move about 1/8 a turn. Some of these water pumps, if in an old car with many miles, few coolant changes, etc etc etc may be 'frozen' in place - very difficult to remove. Good luck.

    I can't tell you everything to take off - I do remember there is a protective cover over the belt - remove this to get to the nuts/bolts on the belt. Then just take off everything to get to the side of the pump, where I think there is a cover over it. There should be an o-ring in the back of the pump after it is pulled, the new pump should have a new o-ring. They say to coat it with antifreeze before installing.

    I've never heard the engine needs to be jacked up. You do know this is on the driver side of the car, top of motor, at the end of the upper radiator hose????

    If the belt has cracks in the back, replace it. If the 'grooves' are cracked much, I would replace it. You are in there, it is only about $12 or so - replace it. The belt tensioner needs to be oiled so it moves freely, it pivots on a shaft.

    My dealer told me they would clean the grooves when they replaced a belt. I think this probably was nonsense. But when I replaced main drive belt and water pump belt, I used a toothbrush on all the grooved pulleys, and felt a fool while doing it. Needed a new toothbrush afterwards, too.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    maintenance, if you must go thru the hassle of changing the water pump, would it not be prudent to change the belt, check the pully, and change ALL hoses at that time???...heck, if the AC has a separate belt, change it, too, and not worry for the next 50K-plus miles...
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I too feel the need to do 'maintenance' changes on belts and hoses.

    But.... a Northstar has hoses that are not changed on a 'whim'. The main upper and lower radiator hoses are simple, but the other heater, surge tank, and various bypass hoses are a real mess. Some of these are green 'silicone' high temperature hoses. You better not replace these with regular black heater hoses, they will probably soon melt.

    On my 1995, I replaced the upper and lower radiator hoses and the drive belt (there is only one) and the water pump belt (this is a little short belt driven off the rear of the front cam shaft). I looked at the other hoses and decided they would stay in there until they looked a lot worse. Course I sold the car much before I thought they needed changing.
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