View Full Version : Northstar Performance - 24 hour head gasket repair & bottom end re-seal

03-09-11, 12:22 PM
I'm recovering from the financial setbacks incurred during the winter months. Not recovered yet, but getting there.

As of 21/03/11 I'll be back to having employees as well as myself in the shop.

Sometimes it seems like moving was a mistake, other times it looks very beneficial. It all depends I guess-

As much as I would love to build a 400HP front wheel drive STS, and I know it's possible with enough development, research, and funding, I may have to leave that stuff to someone else. Let's face it, 400HP is worthless if you can't keep the heads on the engine. My job has been, and likely always will be; making sure more and more Northstars get studded and repaired, and that customers can trust their Northstars without giving a long drive on a hot day; a second thought.

Stud kit sales have been at an all time high in the past few weeks and this is good (but bad that they are needed in the first place). I hope the Northstars can continue to be saved for many, many years to come and I hope I can assist many people with this.

I have set a new goal for my shop in Manitoba. After I get these new employees well trained on what to do, what not to do, and how important quality of workmanship is, I have plans for a new standard in this repair industry.

I know it has been done before, (I've done it myself last year) but I want the standard set in my shop of 24 hour HG repair jobs. This means the bottom end re-sealed and all. Not cutting ANY corners, not rushing. Just a team of very well organized people running either 3-8 hour shifts or 2-12 hour shifts. This means running like a well oiled machine. Automation. Parts conveyors, automatic high pressure parts washers, etc. Bulletin boards in front of my employees covering work procedures, torque specs, etc.

I want my customers to have the best quality repairs, and a very good turnaround time. TCC solenoid replacements and soforth, full engine rebuilds will obviously require more time but streamlining can be done without sacraficing (actually while improving) quality of workmanship.

I will slow down before I ever cut a corner or rush something, if it takes 25 or 26 hours, so be it- but the goal is 24 hours.

Proper tools, organized workspace, spare parts on the shelf at all times (alternators, replacement bolts, gaskets, engine blocks if need be, cranks, heads, vertical mill on site for machining needs, etc.) will assist in meeting deadlines.

I have two Benwil 7,000 lb. 2 post lifts in the back of my cube van that will be installed in the shop in the next couple of weeks. These come from the GM Lake Orion Assembly plant (got them for a song and they're in great condition). These will definitely help with the process of engine removal/reinstallation.

I read a bumper sticker yesterday that said "Those who think something is impossible, shouldn't interrupt the people doing it." I like to live by that sort of mindset.

Nothing, ever, is more efficient than factories and assembly lines specializing in a certain procedure or task. Quality control is more important than speed and must be implemented during all stages of the work (such as Joe Tahoe and marking the camshaft cap bolts with a paint marker after proper torque is acheived).

Before one shift leaves, the shift of workers leaving would have a meeting with the next shift and fill them in on any areas of the vehicle that need special or added attention. A work order would be posted on the board beside each vehicle as well with this information, what is to be done, etc. and photos would be taken (as I always do) along the way.

With two GM hoists, two engine stands from the GM Livonia engine plant, enough floor space (4000+sq. ft.), the experience, the training, the tools, it is 100% possible.

If 5 vehicles per week was possible, if the demand is there, I will start negotiating with vehicle shippers and expand the service area slightly. Better yet, get a decent one-ton truck and tripple car hauler.

I intend to keep pricing as low as possible, keep warranty up as high as possible, and continually increase work quality and improve on various processes.

I cannot do this without good, skilled employees. The lead hand I'm hiring is skilled in production work and maintenance and will be missed at his previous job in the trailer manufacturing industry. If he performs the tasks like I think he will, his help will save my life. To have someone you can rely on and count on to do a great job in an efficient/reasonable amount of time, is priceless.

03-09-11, 01:52 PM
Jake I am sure I speak for all here when I say good luck and glad to here you moving forward again Sir.If anyone can do the 24 hour turn around it would be you for sure. I am looking forward to doing my 1st stud job in the next 2 months...

Also thank you for all you do on the boards also....

03-09-11, 03:34 PM
Jake I am sure I speak for all here when I say good luck and glad to here you moving forward again Sir.If anyone can do the 24 hour turn around it would be you for sure. I am looking forward to doing my 1st stud job in the next 2 months...

Also thank you for all you do on the boards also....

X-2 If anyone can you can jake

03-09-11, 03:42 PM
Best of luck on this venture, you've my full support, i know you can do it, you've accomplished so much already, the studs (like the Northstar engine itself) are a masterpiece in engineering. Good luck friend, although i've yet to install my kit, I'm fortunate to have done business with you and am thankful for this site, if it wasn't for cadillacforums.com i might've not come across your fix, again, thank you. :)

03-09-11, 04:01 PM
:yeah: Wish I was closer I would help out and thank you my friend and this forum I would never became a Caddy lover if it were not for you and this forum!!

03-09-11, 04:09 PM
:yeah: Wish I was closer I would help out and thank you my friend and this forum I would never became a Caddy lover if it were not for you and this forum!!

I'm ready to fly someone from here out here to WA lol

03-09-11, 04:50 PM
I'm glad to hear that stud kit sales are up, but at the same time that means there are so many cars with the issue.

I'm glad you came up with the idea of the studs Jake.

There will countless of cars that will be fixed and probably very few that will give thanks for you pioneering the fix for the northstar. For all those that may forget to thank you, I'll say thanks for them. I say thanks personally for coming up with the stud kit, because without it I don't think I would have trusted any other repair for this type of engine.

Your stud kit is the ONLY reason I would entertain having my eldorado and possibly getting another northstar-powered vehicle.

I wish you and your staff continued success and thanks for all the assistance you have given me.

03-09-11, 05:17 PM
you should move down to mpls from the woods. i think you said you were near letellier? i have friends in bemidji and wonder what they do up there? fishing is good. but your out in the middle of nowhere.

03-09-11, 10:04 PM
Take your time Jake. Better to promise someone 2 or 3 days and surprise them with 1 rather than the other way around. Let it happen on it's own as your crew gets better. Best of luck to you.

03-10-11, 08:22 AM
Thank you all. I'm not exactly in the middle of nowhere in Manitoba. Winnipeg's population is in the 600,000 range and that's only an hour North of me. Brandon to the West, Kenora Ontario to the East, Fargo & Grand Forks to the South.

I love my new home and the seven acres it's situated on, + the 4,000 sq. ft. shop. When work is done for the day (when that actually happens) I have a warm, comfortable home to relax in.

The advantages are 1) lowest electric rates in Canada 2) lower taxes (best in Canada for small corporations) 3) low automobile insurance rates 4) dead center of Canada which means cars are coming to me from Calgary Alberta too (12 hours away, 3 cars already from there). And hopefully some will come from Northern Ontario too.

I have a U.S. City in mind if I decide to head south but if I do that, the Manitoba shop will stay in operation. Any processes that requires a lot of electricity such as machining, heat treating, cleaning, remanufacturing, etc. would all be done in that shop, provided transport costs would not exceed the benefits of low utility costs. My electric bills were in the $300/month range in Ontario, Manitoba so far, $133/month.

I agree with you Ranger on the surprise factor, not pushing it too much just in case something takes more time than expected- :)

The USA's largest automotive engine rebuilder just ordered enough studs yesterday for 48 Northstars. My lips are sealed about certain things but let's just say they want a 0% rate of HG failure and I told them with my studs, that is attainable without second guessing it. They did one already and it turned out great, now they're going to be machining the head bolt holes out for the studs using a CNC machining center. This huge order is heading south. If I think I have the time I'll make that delivery personally and see how I like the weather and check out a couple of potential shop locations.

JoeTahoe, I'll send you an email a bit later if I get a bit of time. Gotta get new tires installed on my truck this morning, at 45,000 miles on that new Sierra already, the factory tires are just about bald. Sale of $50 off per tire so now's the time. I've got a mild case of the flu right now, not looking forward to work today.

Expansion into the USA would have so many benefits, I know:

1)more work, closer to larger cities with more Northstars
2)no cross border customs B.S. for shipping stud kits
3)warmer weather
4)lower gasoline prices
5)WAY lower taxes, like half or less
6)access to the best equipment, best services, best of everything really
7)more competitive service providers for communications (lower rates)
8)girls wear bikinis instead of parkas (LOL Manitoba gets quite hot too in the summer, like 90 degrees).

One drawback - health care. Canada has free health care. Or does it? Dentists are not free, precription meds are not free even if you need them to stay alive, optical care is not free.....if you wind up having surgery or anything like that, or wind up hospitalized, that's covered. I'm sure the USA has insurance plans for that kind of stuff though. The services we receive in Canada don't nearly make up for the taxes we pay.

Should the time come for a move into the south, the Canadian shop(s) will remain in operation. I'm not going through all of that work setting up in Manitoba for nothing. I will say though, Manitoba's winter does make me consider the far south........

98Eldo32v you might hear from me too soon- oh - and Ron - what's the temp there in Florida right now?

03-10-11, 08:26 AM
Oh - stoveguyy - I can see the lights in Letellier from my driveway. Only maybe a 5-10 minute drive.

03-10-11, 08:37 AM
Right now in lovely Jacksonville, FL it's a nice 63 degrees. (17 C)

03-10-11, 09:56 AM
Sounds good Stingroo-

03-10-11, 10:14 AM
Yep! A spot of rain earlier this morning but now it's clear and nice out. Too bad I'll be cooped up in a library all day. :(

03-10-11, 10:17 AM
it's been raining two days in a row here in southern Ontario. It seems like it's always cloudy here-

03-10-11, 03:10 PM
One drawback - health care. Canada has free health care.
Nothing in life is "free". You pay for it in higher taxes to support it.