: My NorthStar project....

Night Wolf
09-26-04, 06:44 PM
Well, I have the engine now.. figured I would start a new thread since the old one was dead....

it is missing a good amount of valves/ end caps (not family with DOHC enignes... the thing the can touches to open/close the valve) there are no bolts either... the injectors and fuel rails are all there, there are even rings on the pistons (which I will end up replacing) the block crank and cams all look like there is no wear, 1 head looks real clean, the other has alot of carbon deposits.. it shoudl clean up though... given this enigne, does it need to be time sertted? from what I know it was only run for a short period of time...

Notice the sticker on the cover, it was donated by GM... do they give brand new engines, or used ones? how does that work out?

My first questions are.... where can I get the cam cover for the head that is missing it, along with the valves and springs that I am missing.... then where can I get a nice gasket set and all the bolts I will need... I will need a full set of bolts, and any kind of fasteners etc...

Also, what does everyone think about this enigne... does it seem pretty buildable? look like there isn't much wear etc....

On a few of the pictures, I added a little description... click the picture and then you can read it... here are all the pics:


09-26-04, 10:08 PM
Good lord. You're gonna have a hellofa time finding which bolt goes where (assuming it even CAME with bolts).

it is missing a good amount of valves/ end caps (not family with DOHC enignes... the thing the can touches to open/close the valve)

You mean the hydraulic lifters?

there are no bolts either...

Ouch.. that's gonna nickle and dime ya.

shoudl clean up though... given this enigne, does it need to be time sertted? from what I know it was only run for a short period of time...

Do you want to have to tear it apart again in 10,000 miles?

Notice the sticker on the cover, it was donated by GM... do they give brand new engines, or used ones? how does that work out?

I would assume new engines, but maybe the heads were used?

My first questions are.... where can I get the cam cover for the head that is missing it, along with the valves and springs that I am missing.... then where can I get a nice gasket set and all the bolts I will need... I will need a full set of bolts, and any kind of fasteners etc...

Fweew. cam cover get at a junk yard. probably set you back $50. Valves and springs you might be able to get there as well if you're lucky. Otherwise it's GM. gasket set and bolts you can get from GM, but I think there's a website out there that has it all much cheaper. Can't remember it though. btw - that's a 93-94 engine. Definately get the service manual for it. You cannot put that engine together without it. Special procedures, etc.

Night Wolf
09-26-04, 10:55 PM
I didn't know if people said the time sertting only had to be done on high millage engine... either way, I have all winter to do this, so I may as well do it right...

There is a local junk yard that has very good pick&pull prices.... but there are no N* there... I did see a few late model Caddy's in their other yard, but people aren't allowed in there... so I will stop by and ask them... I will need a cam cover, and the valves/springs/lifters for the ones I am missing?

The gasket set that GM sells... does that have the new design head gaskets and rear main seal? I was trying to find a website that sells it also... coudln't find any... maybe someone else knows that site you are talking about?

hmmm... '93 or '94 then... is that *bad* at all? the code in the vin is P, I know on the car P is 1993, not sure with the engine though.... I know the N* was changed over the years a little (5hp boost etc...) if this engine ever goes in a car, it'll be a '94 or '95 Eldorado ETC....

... with the service manual... is there a special manual for the engine alone, or should I just buy any Cadillac service manual for a car with the L37, and go from there?

I also realized there is no throttle body.... I can either get one form the junkyard, or maybe buy that nice bigger one that customcaddy.com sells... although at $250, I would only do that if I was defintily putting it in a car....

... Also, the N*, like my 4.9 has many, many sensors... go into diagnostic mode and you can get anything from intake air temp, to manifold pressure to coolant temp etc.... do all those valves come from seperate sensors? if so, I don't think I have them either.... I was thinking about that before...

09-27-04, 01:31 AM
A good many of the bolts are torque to yield and are not reusable anyway. Headbolts and gaskets come in the same kit.The best thing for you to do is get a complete engine that is runout, run without oil, or a big wreck, and salvage the parts you need. Even one that burned wouldn't be too bad because rarely do they get hot enough to draw the heat treatment from metal parts.

Night Wolf
09-27-04, 06:56 AM
I would hate to have to get another enigne.... First I will make a trip to the junk yard, then start looking online... I have all winter, so there is no rush....

09-27-04, 09:42 AM
By the looks of the valve train and cylinder head, that engine was barely run...but assembling all the odd pieces and getting the electronics to work out is going to be challenging, to put it mildly. I'd shop now for a 93/4/5 that needs head gaskets (it should run you about $2-3k) and pull what you need from something that's been running. In the meantime, you could do the timeserts on the block you've got. For parts, search that word on this site to turn up gmparts.com (I think) and a couple of others that are reported to be 20-40% cheaper than the local dealers. Good luck!

Night Wolf
09-27-04, 03:19 PM
that's the thing... I don't want to have to buy another engine, especially for $2-3k... which I don't have....

I did find out though that I do have most of the long head bolts... can they be reused?

This was going to be a winter project, kinda to see if my can do this on my own, I would use the service manual to help me along though....

I was hoping this woudln't be too much in the terms of cost... does this seem like a good engine for the rebuild though? I am starting to get the vibe it isn't (from the replies here).... I could just part it out, but this is something I think I would enjoy doing....

Maybe tomorrow I'll give the local junkyard a call and see if theyhave the cam cover and valves... if so, that would be good... all I would need are the full gasket and bolt set... then once the enigne is all done, I could get a new oil and water pump, and if I do decide to get a car with a bad enigne, use the accessorys from that engine....

09-28-04, 01:29 AM
If Gm donated the engine I'm wondering if it would be good for a daily driver. It could be a second that is ok for shop class but I'm not sure I would trust it or put any money in it. I guess you could try a car fax and see if you can get any info on the engine. It might be a warranty replacement from dealer that GM paid for, now they donate it to school for tax write off. I would ask myself if GM is giving away new $6-7000 dollar engines to schools to tear apart, not likely. Hope I'm not raining on your parade but I would do a little more checking before you spend more money and time.


Night Wolf
09-28-04, 07:10 AM
carfax uses the vin on a car, not the engine....

... I will be stopping by a machine shop in town with it, see what he says.... the owner is a close family friend, so if he says it checks out, then I will go for it...

09-28-04, 08:31 AM
There has been a couple of guys on this board or caddyinfo that bought used engines with what they were told was low mileage but found out, I think they said it was car fax that the engines had very high mileage. Anyways good luck with your project.

chuck jenkins
09-28-04, 10:19 PM
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Night Wolf
09-28-04, 11:18 PM
I was looking at complete NorthStar's on ebay.... used.... they are going for alot less then I first thought.... about $800 for a running one in good shape... but for a running enigne, with blown head gasket, about $200.... as I was looking in there... somebody was selling a running, but blown head gasket engine, for $150.... 20min from me... ahhh how did I miss that.

I guess that is what I will do, since it is cheap enough.... my crank, block, pistons, cams, heads etc... are in great shape with practically no wear, and since these are the parts on an enigne that do wear, that is great.... then on the bad eninge, I can salvage all the other odds and ends that I will need.... the first thing to do is get the whole thing in my basement, get the block on the stand, then just look at what I have in depth....

Here is a question.... when rebuilding the 302 with my father, I used a bench grinder (the side with the wire brush) to clean the carbon off of the top of the pistons.... I do not have one... could I use a wire brush? what woudl the best way to clean the tops of the pistons off.... again, it is strange, some are pretty clean, others have heavy deposits in the little area for the valves....

The only bolts I have, are the bolts for the rods, and the head bolts... can I reuse either of these?

Also, I kinda have an understanding what the time sertting does (puts new threads for the head bolts?) but where is the kit for it, how much is it, is it a difficult job, and how would I go about doing it?

I did swung by the machine shop yesterday, but the guy was very busy, today it was raining hard all day, and wasn't in the mood to take the '79 thru the rain... then it would be pointless, becuase my clean enigne would get wet (when I pop the trunk etc...) so I will do it tomorrow... supposed to be real nice out too...

Kinda OT... but the engine cover that goes on top.... I always thought it was plastic, mine is metal... in rough shape (missing the emblem, scratches etc...) which is OK... I would replace it if I ever put it in a car... but I notice that mine dosn't have the lip and sticker that says 32V NORTHSTAR V8.... kinda strange.... are they all metal?

Also, if this is a '93/'94 enigne, the new intake manifold in '95 (IIRC) gave the engine 5hp more.... not that it will be really noticable, but would it be worth getting the intake manifold from a newer engine? And kinda with the year... being that this was one of the first years for the N*... are there any bugs or flaws in the design with the engine I should look out for, or will it perform like any other N* in the car?

chuck jenkins
09-29-04, 06:42 AM
Good luck. You're gonna need a lot of it.

Night Wolf
09-29-04, 08:53 PM
Well, today 3 things happened that rlates to my engine....

1) a friend that knows alot about enignes came over and checked it out for a few mintues.... keep in mind I didn't even spend as much as 2 minutes checking anything out... I just dumped it in the car, then when I got home took the pics... Anyway, while we were looking at it, we found a few light nicks in the crank.... nothing to be worried about though, I am not missing a while set of valves, they were in upside down to keep them from falling out (no lock out clips) so in accuality, I am missing 2 or 3 valves/springs, 1 of my pistons are shot.... the top of it has heavy carbon build up (only one) the rings are broke.... and the little "lip" on the edge of the piston (if you were free holind it, and moved the rod to either side, the first thing it touches) is broke right off... it must have been dropped though, becuase that woudln't happen inside the engine... and maybe it was the ring that was bad and it was getting blow by which is why the top of that piston is dirty.... instead of buying a whole set of new pistons.... I may just buy 1.... what does everyone reccomend?

2) I stopped by the machine shop, the guy looked at it... very surprised at how clean it was... said it has been thru the enigne wash, said the vlave train is like new, there was a valve job done on it, the reason why one head is clenaer then the other is becuase somebody cleaned 1 and not the other... and that it will clean right up (the clean on is the one missing the vlaves... they musta took them out to clean them...) he told me that the piston was dropped and that is what caused it to break, not from the enigne... said I got a really good deal, this enigne looks to be in really nice shape... also agrees with finding a blown enigne and stripping it of all external parts, then using what I have to make a nice long block to drop in a car. He siad I should get a whole set of new pistons....

3) as I moved 1 head from the trunk to the back seat floor (block was hitting it everytime I would stop) I actually spent some time looking at what I had.... I realzied, it isn't as bad as I thought.... There are, what I am pretty sure of, are 2 knock sensors between 2 cylinders, some sensors on the intake manifold, alot of bolts in holes that I overlooked before (so I don't need a *full* bolt set) some crank case vlaves and some other odds and ends that kinda add to my favor...

So I am really happy... I *am* going to build this up.... I will be on the look out on ebay and the paper and stuff for a blown N*... until then... well, my first setp is to get it all inside and on the stand... still in the car... then I will work on getting things cleaned up.... can I get more info on the Time Sert deal? Thanks

09-30-04, 03:17 PM
Night Wolf,
I found this site on installing time serts to be helpful and interesting (except for the first line or two). http://caddyinfo.netgetgoing.com/howto/nsrepair.htm

Hope it helps,

Night Wolf
09-30-04, 03:44 PM
hmm, I was reading up on them on the timesert website too...

seems like a difficult process.... is this something I would be able to do myself? and the kit for the tools and all the time serts are about $350? (almost twice what I paid for my engine)

Night Wolf
09-30-04, 11:54 PM
I thought there would be alot more support for this.... or aleast comments/replies... especailly from the regulars....

hopefully soon (maybe this weekend?) I can borrow the engine stand, and move the enigne from the '79 into the basement... start cleaning things up and get a new wave of pics....

where can I find a new set of pistons, and how much would they run? Also, where could I buy 1 piston... how much is that? I am trying to look at my options here....

How much does the time sert kit run in present day?

05-29-05, 12:33 PM
U should never use a wire wheel on any alum part as it will impregnate the part with fine bits of steel.Use a brass wire wheel .If I was going to all that work I would rebuild the engine with new pistons and rings and find a reputal machine shop in your area and ask alot of questions.I'm sure they will help u out with what should be done with your engine.The N* engine isn't your average engine and requires a lot of spec. tools.
Good luck with your project...The Rangatang