I just purchased a 1996 Cadillac Seville SLS with 113,000 miles on it. It was running fine for the first couple of days, but now it overheats in about 20 minutes after driving. The engine coolant is burning up and I did notice that it is leaking coolant a little. A mechanic told me immediately that it was the head gasket and it is really costly. Can it be anything else besides such a big problem.
The head gasket is not the overheating problem. It is the result of an over heating problem. Lets say that you replace the head gasket as expensive as it is, you will drive for 20 minutes and find that you will need the same head gasket replaced and possibly the other or even worse.
Once the head gaskets are gone, its all over! There is no cheap fix. The engine is essentially junk and you need a new engine. Not an overheated junk yard engine, but a new engine from Cadillac to the tune of about $5K installed and you still don't know if you still have an issue like a plugged radiator, bad coolant fan, water pump or whatever caused it to overheat in the first place.
These old Cadillacs can be very costly to maintain as you are finding out the hard way. Cadillac should have put a warning on the sun visor, not that anyone would ever read it. "Due to the fact we engineered our aluminum engines since 1982 for weight reduction and performance, this engine can never be run over the 3/4 mark on the gauge or 220 degrees. Doing so is at your own peril!"
By the time the hot light comes on, the engine is self-destructing! Cast iron engines like in a Chevy, the most damage over heating would cause is a head gasket.
You have 2 cylinder heads on your car. What if the head is damaged? Anyone silly enough to try to repair an over heated aluminum Cadillac engine deserves to live with the engine problems for life!!!
That's not opinion but cold hard fact! 9.5 out of 10 overheated Cadillac engines are junk!
There is no cheap fix. Time to look for a cheap car and not an old Cadillac. If you look in my archives, you will see more than enough examples.
I really do feel sorry for you is the grim reality is that your mechanic cannot fix this engine no matter how good he thinks he is. As I said, the head gasket was not the cause of the over heating, but the affect.