Hi machineface. Welcome to the forum. Expensive cars have expensive repairs but $3000.00 seems real high, even for a Cadillac. The typical cost for head gaskets for a V-type engine is a little over half of that. One test you can do yourself is to watch for bubbles in the overflow reservoir when the engine is running but still cold. If you see bubbles or it looks lile it is boiling, suspect the head gaskets. The clue is there will be no steam with the bubbles because the coolant is still cold.
The test they were referring to is what I call the "sniffer" test. It involves drawing air from the radiator through a glass tube with two chambers of dark blue liquid. If combustion gases are present, the liquid will turn bright yellow. The test strips are used to measure the acidity of the antifreeze. GM has a real lot of trouble with the red Dexcool antifreeze, (commonly referred to as "Dexmud"), so most people don't test it; they just replace it. I've never seen test strips to check for combustion gases but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Most mechanics have the sniffer tester and it only takes a few minutes to perform the test.
Thursday, June 17th, 2010 AT 8:53 PM