: is the northstar junk?

05-26-04, 11:51 AM
this site makes me think the northstar engine is complete junk. what percent of these engines have the problems talked about on this forum? ie. new head gaskets, thread inserts, electrical problems etc.

05-26-04, 12:19 PM
this site makes me think the northstar engine is complete junk. what percent of these engines have the problems talked about on this forum? ie. new head gaskets, thread inserts, electrical problems etc.

Typical reaction to any internet forum that you might visit.

Everyone who has a problem looks up the appropriate internet site to vent and bitch and explain their problems. So, naturally, most of what you read is problems. Check any internet site and see. BMW 750's have a huge hate site. Toyota has a hate site for their "sludging" four cylinders. Check out some of the Mercedes sites on their latest cars with electronic problems. Even enthusiate sites like for the Ford Taurus V8 SHO has multiple posts about failed cams....

There are millions of Northstars on the road without a single problem. I recently discovered that a nearby neighbor has over 200K on here Northstar Deville with nothing but oil changes as an example. This site is NOT a scientific sample of the cars and engines out there. It does highlight problems that might show up....but certainly does not represent the likelyhood of the problem showing up.

Given enough miles problems will start to show up on any engine. Many of the vehicles on this forum have well over 100K on them when problems do show up. The Northstar is it's own worst enemy in this respect. It seems capable of generally giving excellent service with little or no intervention by the owner well past 100K. 20 or 30 years ago it was not that usual to get 100K on any car or engine without significant work and investment. The Northstars that do come apart for work look excellent inside with the orginal honeing pattern in the cylinder bores and absolutely no cylinder wear or ridge to deal with. The heads and valves and valve seats need no work at 100K-150K on engines that come apart and the timing drive lives forever. So things like the head gasket start to bubble up as the "weakest" link that needs service first.

Lexus engines from the same era as the early and mid 90's Northstars would have needed two or more timing belt replacements by now as normal maintenance. At $1200-$1500 per that would easily exceed the amount most people have to spend for a head gasket replacement IF it was needed and most don't. So, not a direct comparison but it does show that every engine requires some investment to get to the 100K+ range....

As mentioned before, the 93/94/95 Northstars also suffer from the lack of maintenance of the cooling system by owners early in their life. Head gaskets failing on those engines about now are often due to lack of cooland replacement and internal corrosion effects due to the corrosion inhibitors failing in the coolant from not being serviced. Not the engine's fault, really.

Is it junk..??? Not at all. Are there some characteristic problems that show up on some engines...???...yes. As there are on all engines.

05-26-04, 01:42 PM
good point about the use of these sites, that makes sense, i found this site trying to solve a problem with my car. now if i could just get the thing to run smoothe again.

05-26-04, 03:52 PM
I have owned two Northstars. The first was my 1994 Deville Concours. The engine was great except the case half started leaking oil at around 100k miles. I sold it with 125k, and it still ran great!

The second was in my 2000 STS. There were some casting defects in the year 2000 blocks that made them porous for coolant. My STS engine had coolant leaking under the intake manifold at around 44k miles. It was replaced under warranty with a 2002 Northstar.
Other than 2 MAP sensors and new crank sensors (another Y2K problem), the old engine ran great.

I've owned 9 different Cadillacs and the only one that I've had problems with was a 76' 500 that had an oiling problem and it fried the main bearing.

So I wouldn't call the Northstar junk, it's a very powerful little engine!

05-28-04, 12:52 PM
BMW 750's have a huge hate site.
:coolgleam My dad had a 740iL, he would agree with that. Traded it on a new DeVille 2 months ago. :cheers: