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Cadillac Repair/1999 Cadillac Catera


Husband's car needs head cover gasket. Mechanic needs special tool to "hold cams". They don't have tool and say it costs $1500. They don't know where to get one. Is this necessary for repair? Accurate cost? Should we go somewhere else?


I apologize for the delay in the answer, but something is wrong with my browser not allowing me to submit my answer, which I did three times before I saved into a word doc and sent it to another computer.

You have what we call in Texas a pig and a poke. Once overheated which this engine was and is about the only reason for needing a head gasket, you are left with many financial vulnerabilities. This is an aluminum engine and when over heating develops the engine components begin to melt. The head gasket is the result and not the cause of your over heating.

You could end up sticking in all sorts of money for repair, just to waste it. Yes, I would get the car out of that garage, but I would also warn you on the options. You will not find a good junk yard engine, because it is likely they too were over heated. A GM new crate engine is $4k and change.

If I were you, I would reconsider on fixing the car. I have addressed this issue since 1982 when these aluminum engines first came out. GM should have put a bright orange tag with a warning "Do not over heat because it will cause catastrophic damage to engine." Of course they would not have been able to sell Cadillacs for the absorb dent price they did.

I have owned over 20 Cadillacs and have worked on them for 30 years. The engine’s Achilles’ heel is over heating. If you look in my archives here, you would see the problems.

Good luck.

About our services:

We have become more innovated in our services assisting insured’s in their auto theft claims. We are fighting these claims investigations for our clients from a far more powerful angle that just offering expert witness services in auto theft. We are given the authorization to represent the insured under a Power of Attorney. This event gives you the potential of getting a resolution to your theft claim far quicker, than any attorney can do.

Auto theft claims are handled far different than long ago. The vehicle was reported stolen and within 30 days, the claim was paid. Now, the investigation units believe or at least appear to, that all vehicles are virtually impossible to steal, because of the so-called factory anti-theft systems equipped on the vehicles. The insurance companies use certified forensic locksmiths to analyze the ignition lock and key. The reports generated by them infer insured involvement with the statement “the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type, no matter what methodology they may use for the day. Hence, in the carrier’s eyes, this “independent” forensic report will be just the tool they need o go on a which hunt of the insured’s finances (even with a 850 credit score) and they will manufacturer a case against the insured, even though the insured had no involvement with the theft of the car.
There are many very interesting twists and turns and the insured’s life has the potential of being altered forever. The first and worst thought in these civil investigations, is to retain an attorney that knows absolutely nothing about the mechanics of the investigation process. If you review our site, you will see some real good inside information as to how these claims progress, that insurance companies do not appreciate being shared to the public. In my case, I have 23 years working with, training with the SIUs and commonly know what they are going to do before they do it. I have hundreds of hours of sworn testimony and can prep an insured for an EUO (Examination Under Oath). This experience also covers close to 20 years of bad faith claims experience and 30 years as being an expert in auto theft with the actual experience in repairing stolen vehicles. Something that most CFLs lack. Hiring an attorney during the investigation phase is sealing the insured’s fate for years before the case is even heard in court. Insurance defense attorneys are grest for planting the seed that the vehicle is impossible to steal to a jury, and it is difficult for a plaintiff attorney to recover from that.

Some manufacturers have not been honest with the consumer and referring to their system as anti theft and yet the system by design was never meant to prevent theft.

The service we offer is very unique and changes the paradigm of the status quo. Our clients give us a tremendous amount of power now in all 50 states and in Canada, where we are not licensed attorneys and never give that impression, however we can have many of the same powers afforded to them when we are representing the insured under a Power of Attorney in civil issues.
No matter where you are at in the claims investigation, whether it is your first interview, your EUO or denial, there is only one place that you will get a firm with the knowledge and the tenacity for the truth and that is A&R Forensic Auto Lab LLC or

We are the 800 pound gorilla in the room and we know every aspect of the misleading forensic lock exams performed by these CFLs that are enrichened by the insurance carrier.

If you get the feeling during the SIU claims investigation that the carrier is accusing you of the theft, guess what? They are!
It is so very interesting that in many of these claims, towing, pushing or pulling is ruled out with no reason other than it was assumed fact that the vehicle was driven from the theft site.

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Rob Painter


Alarm system questions cannot be answered on this forum. These systems are not what I can answer. Without being physically at the vehicle and not knowing what kind of electrical service has been done on the vehicle, there is no possible way to give an accurate answer over the internet. My expertise is in Ignition/key based anti-theft systems. These issues include GM VATS (resistor chip in key blade) PASSLOCK (MRD)-ignition lock rotation based, no special ignition key and the PKIII Transponder (computer chip in key) systems. These systems are not alarm based and are integral with the starting of the engine. This is why I cannot diagnose alarm problems without physically looking at the vehicle: Alarm systems are a completely different annimal than ignition key/lock based anti-theft system. Many alarm questions come from vehicles 10 years old, and since older, many hands that had been involved over the years.I am an expert in all GM factory (ignition/key based)systems. Alarm system questions pose to many situations beyond my knowledge as to what has been done to the vehicle over the years. Some guy may have actually wired the stereo into the alarm system. Who knows? Over my past 30 years in vehicle wiring repair, I have seen unbelievable wiring disaters done by guys that consider themselves "mechanics." I have seen stereos and alarms intalled using surgical tape. I have seen modules burn up, un-fused circuits, wiring jambed between the doors and even lamp cord used for a starter kill. To answer alarm questions over the internet without examining the vehicle is like asking; What does it take to remove a dent?


Education/Credentials-ASE certified. 11 years with a GM dealer and 17 years with a repair facility dealing with only the repair of theft recovered vehicles.

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