: No More Cadillac's Throw Away Northstar Engine



No More Cadillac's
10-09-04, 09:05 AM
I have always owned Cadillacs and so has my family. My latest puchase was a 2002 Seville and before that a 1998 Eldorado. The 1998 Eldorado was a wonderful riding, dependable and comfortable car, that was meticuously maintained. However, although the car ran perfectly and majestically over the last 6 months, the "coolant low warning" came on 2 times. I had the car pressure tested to find the leak only to find that the car with just about 70K miles has a leaking head gasket.
Being naive I was not concerned about the head gasket repair, as the car is in as new condition and for a grand or two it would be fixed as new. I then proceeded to get an estimate from a Cadillac dealership to repair the head gasket. The estimate went like this; it will be $1500 to $7500 depending on what we find when we open the engine, it's usually around $5000. In addition, the warranty would be for 90 days. All other repairs by Cadillac come with a one year warranty. I asked the service manager why the 90 days? He stated that the engines frequently throw the bolts, leak again and he has seen cracked blocks as a result of the repair. His off the record suggestion was to sell or trade the car in for a new one and get an extended warranty so the Northstar would be covered.
I then proceeded to get second, third and many other opinions, including reading posts herin that were very helpful. What I found is that, where I live in Long Island NY, most reputable shops do not want to repair the engine, others do not know how to. In reading the website the proper fix is site seer ect and simply taking out the old gasket and bolting in a new one will not work. New engines from Cadillac were qouted at $10K, and they only had a one year warranty.
My mechanic spent all too much time researching the issue as well and he came to the conclusion that these Northstar engines are THROW AWAYS. The cost to repair a simple head gaskets would approach $3000 and there would be a high probability of a recurring problem.
The best solution was to get a replacement engine from a wreck and throw away my Northstar. The Eldorado is a Y high performance engine. In calling wrecking yards I couldn't believe how many JUNK northstar engines are available. The trouble is most of them have the burning oil problem and or blown head gaskets. Engines that might be problem free from wrecks are hard to find, as they are bought up rapidly, command a premium price as people like myself have few other alternatives.
I ended up paying a premium for a very recent wreck, where I could see the condition of the car and ascertain that the mileage on the engine was about 45K miles. Total cost with installation and a 18 mth warranty $4000 plus tax.
I will now be riding a near new, luxary Cadillac with a JUNK YARD engine. By the way, if you expect help from Cadillac customer service, don't waste your time. They are all too aware of the issues with these engines and offer no financial help, or reasonable alternatives. I got the feeling they were reading from a craftily prepared script when I called, perhaps it was a tape recording or robot.
For those mechanics that post herin, I can tell you from first hand experience, there is a tremendous market for " reliable" rebuilt Northstars. If you can fix them - they will come.
NO MORE CADILLACS No MORE JUNKYARD ENGINES

El Dobro
10-09-04, 09:19 AM
Out of curiosity, who told you a new Northstar engine has a 1 year warranty? The come from the factory with a 3 year/50,000 mile warranty.

No More Cadillac's
10-09-04, 10:55 AM
The Cadillac dealer one year. On the web if I bought crate engines they too came with one year. Whether its one year or three the price for a new engine uninstalled approached or exceeded the value of the vehicle.
The Y engine for eldorado's are hard to find. I don't know if thats because they are a problematic model or if due to not as many eldo's were manufactured.
Be that as it may, there are many Cadillac owners driving these top of the line luxarry vehicles with STOP LEAK circulating through the cooling system, junk yard engines, or expensive repairs that are likely to come undone.

Pjs
10-09-04, 12:43 PM
the engines frequently throw the bolts, leak again and he has seen cracked blocks as a result of the repair. His off the record suggestion was to sell or trade the car in for a new one and get an extended warranty so the Northstar would be covered.

The thing you have to understand about most car dealers is their main business is to make money, They do this by selling cars. If you trade that car in do you think they are not going to fix it and turn around and resell it??? It comes of no surprise to me that the dealer doesn't want to tackle it. They could make more money off the car if they repair it and resell it and at the same time sell you a new ride. Don't think for a second that the shop portion of the dealship isn't tied to the front sales office. One of my best friends was the general sales manager @ a caddy dealer...I got real close w/ the service manager as well. By the way...if a N* had a head gasket repair and is properly timeserted (As the factory manual states) then the chances of it leaking again are marginal @ best. The problems usually result from the procedures not being followed correctly. If you don't believe me do a search in this forum on head gaskets and read through ALL of them.


I then proceeded to get second, third and many other opinions, including The trouble is most of them have the burning oil problem and or most reputable shops do not want to repair the engine, others do not know how to repair blown head gaskets.

They don't want to repair them because they don't know how.
I have spent almost 20 years as a general mechanic, repairing everything from washers and dryers to multi-million dollar pieces of construction equipment, there isn't a whole lot of things prior to the last 10 years that I haven't worked on. I picked up my 95 SLS from a dealer a few months ago for less than 2K. The car had a 129K on it and was in great shape except for the leaking oil pan. Without know anything about how the engine was constructed I figured that I could do this oil pan repair with no problem, until I got home and looked under the car real good. I was scared to death though because I knew nothing about N*'s. For the next 3 weeks I found this site and poured over every post that I could learning about the engine design and construction, major repairs and how to do them correctly and sorting out the myriad of electronic controls. After my extensive research I believe most of the opinions you obtained have little validity because if these "professionals" knew anything of the engine, they would not be afraid to work on one. I have worked in numerous shops, including all the major dealers, Ford, Chev, Chrysler, VW and even (Ugh) Peugot. I have rebuilt over 100 engines of all types. Every mechanic I knew could tell you horror stories about a particular car or engine, they all had their preferences, including myself. For years the only thing I would drive was a Mopar...and I had just about all of them @ one time or another. GTX, RoadRunner, SuperBee, T/A Challenger. I used to hear crap from the Ford and Chev guys about what a POS Mopars were. But it all came down they just didn't understand the idocyncricies of the big block Chrysler engine. It's the same w/ the N*. Like I said I was scared to death to mess w/ this engine until I read a great deal of posts here, then obtained a factory service manual. I now have no problem doing anything to this engine, including timeserting the block and replacing head gaskets. I would also like to point out that many people here have done their own headgaskets, ever after being told by the dealer to get rid of the car, and have not had any problems resulting from their work. People say that N*'s are oil leakers. Well, some are, but MOST are not. Unfortunately for me, mine is. But since I've had my car I've looked @ every N* parked when I can and I have yet to see any other than mine w/ oil leaks underneath of them. I will be dropping the cradle & powertrain from my car in the next couple of weeks to fix the leaking oil pan, but to me its a small price to pay for having such an excellent ride.



I will now be riding a near new, luxary Cadillac with a JUNK YARD engine.

SO?!?!? You make that sound like a bad thing. And technically they are no longer referred to as "Junk Yards" They are auto dismantilling centers. The point is that you now have a decent CADILLAC engine in your CADILLAC. You could pony up the $$$ and buy a new crate engine if used parts bother you so much. I could only hope that if my engine bites it that I will be fortunate enough to find a good one...regardless if it came out of a JUNK YARD.

A friend @ work just bought herself a 94 Mercedes 500SL convertible. She gave over 20K for a 10 year old car, I reckon since the car cost over 90K new it was a good deal. Guess what...she can't find anyone but the dealer that will even attempt to work on it. I called the Mercedes dealer to find out what a head gasket would cost her to replace on her 5.0Liter...Guess what....it's right around $4000. Believe me, if she needed a new engine she'd have no problem going to a wrecking yard for one.

All vehicles have their problems, no getting around that. But given the sheer volume of N*'s produced, just as with any manufactured item, you are going to have a small percentage that fail. It may seem like a lot from the people your talking with, but thats only because they are dealing with engines that have problems, they have no way of knowing how many are on the road with no problems at all.

No More Cadillac's
10-09-04, 01:24 PM
Pjs
I don't disagree with anything you stated. I am sure there are Cadillac dealers who properly repair these engines. The ones I visited in NY were not seriously willing to take it on unless I was willing to "trust them" with an estimate range of $1500 to $7500. Once the job started I would be stuck with whatever it took usually $5000. The warranty would be 90 days.
Other non dealer mechanics stongly suggested that I not fix the engine.
Some mechanics said they would perform the fix, for the most part they had not worked on a Northstar and were not aware of the reccommended way to fix it as posted herin.
I am sure somewhere in my area there is a mechanic who is willing and able to properly fix this engine. I was not able to find one.
It's not only me as there are incredible amount of Northstars available in salvage yards, including newer and low mileage engines. They come with warranty's which mean if it fails the yard will give you another. The problem is most mechanics will not guarantee the installation because so many of the available engines are bad. So the engine will have to come out and another engine installed under warranty.
Accordingly, my mechanic wanted to find one physically in a wreck, that could be researched and the VIN checked to ascertain mileage. He also performed some extensive tests to attempt to ascertain the engine was not an oil leaker and the head gasket didn't leak.
The salvage yards are all too aware of this as if you want a Northstar still in the wreck ect you will pay a permium price.
The Northstar is advertised as a 100K no service engine, I believe it should be called a THROW AWAY engine. Its no secret that there are all too many luxary Cadillacs on the highway full of stop leak, overheating, and leaking oil.
My experience with the 11 Cadillacs I owned before the Northstar indicated a quality manufacturer whose products lasted and certainly could be repaired.
Not an engine that is so expensive and difficult to repair that reputable, honest and experienced mechanics generally suggest replace the engine with a used one - don't fix it.

bbozsik
10-09-04, 02:58 PM
No More Cadillacs... don't you think that if you were to buy another luxury car with fully integrated electronics and cutting edge design technology throughout the powertrain, that you would run into the same problems? Why does it cost almost 800 to replace the timing belt of an Audi (and that's if you don't replace the water pump, as is recommended)? Why do I always hear BMW owners who buy used complain about the cost of repair, and the fact that they have horrible times trying to either perform repairs themselves or try to get anyone else BUT a dealer perform service?

When you purchase a car that cost 40-60K dollars brand new, you have to expect that cost of major repairs will be, well, major.

For other examples, try to find a 2.7L engine for a 1998-2005 Dodge Intrepid. That's their base model engine and they sold hundreds and hundreds of thousands of them. Used engine from a junk yard? $2500 dollars

How about a VR6 or 1.8T Audi/VW engine? $3500.

This is the world of premium automobiles now, unfortunately.

No More Cadillac's
10-09-04, 04:29 PM
Quality cars can be repaired. State of the art means it lasts longer and is better. A throw away engine on a Mercedes, Cadillac or BMW is unheard of until the Northstar

509Rider
10-09-04, 04:34 PM
Go away newbie, go buy a ford and leave us alone. :hitstick:

BeelzeBob
10-09-04, 09:20 PM
Quality cars can be repaired. State of the art means it lasts longer and is better. A throw away engine on a Mercedes, Cadillac or BMW is unheard of until the Northstar


You should spend a little more time researching your bogus claims. Both BMW and Mercedes engines use all aluminum blocks without liners that cannot be rebored or repaired if a cylinder is damaged. BMW owners have replaced thousands and thousands of 4.4 liter V8's due to failure of the Nikasil coating on the cylinder walls due to high sulfur fuel. Once the cylinder wall coating is damaged the entire engine must be replaced as there is no service repair possible...short of welding up the scores and scratches, reboring and re-nikasiling the bores. Mercedes is replacing nearly all the recent model V12 engines due to hydrostatic lock on the cylinder deactivation cylinders. Both BMW and Mercedes have switched to the high silicone, Reynolds 390 alloy blocks with iron coated pistons (this is the EXACT same system used on the Vega engine) to aviod the Nikasil problems....and the Reynolds 390 block is no easier to repair. Toyota and their "sludging" problems have made headlines all over. The list goes on and on. Ever manufacturer has many "hate sights" on the internet where you can read all about the problems. Do some research and find out for yourself.


Just because there are a lot of Northstar engines in junkyard just means that there were a lot of wrecked Cadillacs...nothing to do with the quality of the engine.

The Northstar engine is easily repairable. Head gaskets are a simple procedure to do if the shop follows the correct procedures in the service manual. Trouble is...too many of the technical "experts" out there do the job the old way or try to reingineer the joint with poor success so they blame the engine and refuse to work on them. Makes you wonder if they can read sometimes.....

The point about the dealer wanting you to buy a new one and then fix your old trade in for sale is a good point. Much more money for them that way.

Finding a quality shop may not be easy but if you can find a shop that can simply read the service manual and follow directions they will find that the engine is anything but a throwaway. It is easily repaired and the repairs are permanent.

Yes, the cooling systems are recommended for the sealer. Just like most of the engine manufacturers in the world, the Northstar is assembled at the factory with cooling system sealer in it. If the stuff is good for nuclear submarine cooling systems then it shouldn't be considered a detriment in a Northstar.

Your complaints are not about the car or engine but the dealer. A poor dealer with a poor service attitude and poor service department can make any product look bad.


As long as the engine is running fine why bother with any repair. I am not so sure that you even have a head gasket problem. What was leak checked....the cooling system??? That does not prove that the head gasket is leaking at all. You would have to check each cylinder with compressed air pressure thru the spark plug port and check the cooling system for bubbling. If you are simply seeing some coolant loose you should first drain and refill the system with fresh coolant to make sure the corrsion inhibitors in the coolant is up to full strength and add the recommended coolant supplement (sealer) to the RADIATOR HOSE so as to seal the system. Drive it and see if the coolant loose continues.

There is a lot of info on the "coolant supplement" and "head gasket" and "Timeserts" and such in the archives if you use the search feature to search on the topics.

RLLOVETT
10-10-04, 12:31 AM
Having read this site thoroughly, but AFTER I bought my 94 Eldo...I was pretty sure I should fix the head gaskets in the engine I had when they eventually went. But finding someone to work on the car, including the dealers, was nearly impossible! Even the folks that wound up doing it for me said, "Never again!"
When you weigh that against the DIYers on this site who rave about the watch-like qualities of the motor and the relative straight-forwardness of the repairs (once the engine's pulled...), you have to think there's some kind of 'image' related problem that keeps shops from wanting to do this work...or maybe there's not enough of it...LOL
I, too, am convinced the dealerships would push you to trade rather than repair--even though they all discovered their service depts. in the last 10-15 years, their basic business model is getting folks to drive new, not fix old (the story of our society...),

majax
10-10-04, 03:51 AM
yeah they are probably trying to inch you into the seat of a new STS :sneaky:.

By the way what do you mean "no more Cadillacs" you never going to buy one again?

No More Cadillac's
10-10-04, 08:53 AM
No, I won't buy a Cadillac again. The Northstar engine is advertised as a 100k wonder, no need to tune ect. Meanwhile, in truth, they have known head gasket and oil usage problems.
My limited and not trained as a mechanic research indicates the northstar is a throw away engine not likely to last 100k miles unless you can live with a leaking, smoking, overheating vehicle filled with stop leak. It does not matter how well they are maintained.
Yes the car needs a head gasket, there is water in the oil, blowing out the exhaust and it uses half a gallon every 3 weeks. In most quality engines you would never fill it with stop leak as the stop leak might do additional damage soften seals, let water in the engine ect. I guess when you have a Northstar throw away engine that doesn't matter. Fill it with stop leak, let the water circulate through it until one day it blows up - then you throw it away.
I didn't buy a Cadillac to fill it with stop leak and wait for it to blow. My experience with Cadillac's and Cadillac dealers and customer service over 50 years has been much more than cordial. They wouldn't help me with this one as they know there are all too many people in the same situation.
I don't disagree with the experts herin, that the engine can be repaired. However there must be something difficult, expensive or risky about it. I state this because there are several "engine rebuilders on the web" who state "they will help you find a used Northstar as these engines are not rebuilable" In addition Cadillac Service suggested the best alternative is to buy a used engine.
I don't think anyone can disagree with my complaint which is I didn't buy this car, meticuously maintain it only to find at 65K miles I have a throw away engine. I now drive a luxary Eldorado with a Junk Yard engine. I only drive it as I don't feel comfortable selling a car with a Junk Yard engine

No More Cadillac's
10-10-04, 09:24 AM
Just because there are a lot of Northstar engines in junkyard just means that there were a lot of wrecked Cadillacs...nothing to do with the quality of the engine.

Allow me to expand on what I found in my search for an engine. The supply of Northstars in salvage yards exceeds demand. There are many available such that there is no problem finding 100's in my local area. The price for these engines is reasonable. One local wrecking yard has 9. They are loose engines not attached to a car. If you buy one of these engines they come with no warranty or a very short one.
Finding an engine in a wreck, where the mileage, condition of the car ect can be ascertained, is difficult and these engines command a "hefty" premium price. My engine was taken out of the car and promptly put up for sale by a wrecking yard, as low mileage, maintained ect. I did not condone this, trade it in or had anything to do with it. However the buyer of that low mileage beauty filled with stop leak is bound to have a problem after the warranty is gone.
The number of Junkyard Northstars exceeds the number of wrecked Cadillacs. If you can reliably repair these engines, there is a business oportunity. As the rebuilt supply, crate supply, and "reliable" used supply is small and expensive.
Getting these engines repaired is risky, buying used is risky, buying rebuilt is risky. I am waiting to see if my $4000 Junk yard engine and installation, will consume oil, knock or exhibit head gasket symptoms.
Maybe I am naive, I didn't expect to buy this car, baby it, and end up with a junk yard engine. I have not had that experience with many other Cadillacs.

Pjs
10-10-04, 10:02 AM
No, I won't buy a Cadillac again. The Northstar engine is advertised as a 100k wonder, no need to tune ect. Meanwhile, in truth, they have known head gasket and oil usage problems.
My limited and not trained as a mechanic research indicates the northstar is a throw away engine not likely to last 100k miles unless you can live with a leaking, smoking, overheating vehicle filled with stop leak. It does not matter how well they are maintained.

Because you are limited and not trained, you probably have no idea how many N*'s are on the road w/ over 200K on the odometer w/ no problems. I bought mine w/ 129K on it. It is now over 136K and yes it does leak some oil, however that is a relatively MINOR repair. A first timer with relatively basic knowledge and COMMON sense, an engine hoist and tools can drop the power train cradle in his driveway in just over a couple of hours. It's really not a big deal. As far as the stop leak, it's not just a stop leak, it's also a conditioner, added @ the factory. Had you read your owners manual for your 98 eldo as well as your 02, you would know this. Just because you had your car serviced @ a cad dealer doesn't mean it was done right.




I don't disagree with the experts herin, that the engine can be repaired. However there must be something difficult, expensive or risky about it. I state this because there are several "engine rebuilders on the web" who state "they will help you find a used Northstar as these engines are not rebuilable" In addition Cadillac Service suggested the best alternative is to buy a used engine.

As I've pointed out, many people here do these repairs in their DRIVEWAYS. Not in a sophisticated shop w/ thousands of dollars of expensive tools. And as I said in my previous post, anyone who thinks these repairs are difficult shouldn't be working on ANY automobile. You keep listening to doomsayers who have NO idea how the engine is even constructed, let alone designed. As I've also stated, I've worked on just about anything on wheels or tracks and believe me, the N* is not the mechanical monster these people make it out to be. I've already covered the Cadillac Service suggestion, they WANT your car to repair and resell. They make that suggestion because they know that most people will trade it in instead of buying a crate engine. They sell you a new car...$$$ in their pocket, they fix the trade-in at a lower cost then you can, and put it back out on the lot, again....$$$$ in their pocket. Thats just the reality of the car business.



I don't think anyone can disagree with my complaint which is I didn't buy this car, meticuously maintain it only to find at 65K miles I have a throw away engine. I now drive a luxary Eldorado with a Junk Yard engine. I only drive it as I don't feel comfortable selling a car with a Junk Yard engine
Sorry, I do have to disagree. You chose to throw your engine away, albeit based on some really bad advise from a car dealer. And let me ask you this...what became of your old engine? I'll bet some mechanic snatched it up cheap. In all of your mechanics research did he post any questions on this board? We have a NorthStar engineer here. My God is he a wealth of information. I also did 3 wks of research and came up with just the opposite opinon. N*'s are NOT throwaways.
Everything you state here is not fact, but someone else's bias. Uninformed or just plain stupid, you make the call. Sorry your engine had a bad gasket @ 65K, but thats just the way things happen sometimes. I spent 8 Years running a manufacturing facility. We manufactured electrical connectors for the heavy truck and equipment markets. Our stuff wasn't cheap, but even with all the technology in design and production, we still have failures in the field. We only made connectors for critical systems like big rig abs systems. If one of our connectors failed, someone could get killed...so it was a very big deal. Nothing is ever 100%, and as hard as you try to keep failures from happening that is something that always happen.
If your unhappy with your cad and don't feel comfortable selling it, I suggest you make a charitable contribution to some worthy cause, they'd be more than happy to sell it and take the money. Then you can go buy yourself a Mercedes or Audi and live happily ever after.

Pjs
10-10-04, 10:10 AM
...And BBOB, if you read this, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for us. I know your a busy guy and can't tell you how much we appreciate the fact that you take the time out of your schedule to help all of us out like you do. If your ever in Nashville, drop me a line, I'd be more than happy to buy you some drinks :thumbsup:

No More Cadillac's
10-10-04, 04:04 PM
Pjs
I think you have responded to a few of my points but not the important ones. I did not go to one Cadilac dealer I went to three, I did not seek the advice of one mechanic I went to several, I also spoke to Cadilac customer service, I also solicted estimates and advice from several large well known engine rebuilders. There advice was consistent the Northstar is a throw away engine, repairing it is expensive and risky.
I am not a mechanic and am not about to lift the engine out in my driveway. I did not buy a$2k car with 129k miles on it.
On this website under Northstar there is at least one engine posted in which the block cracked after your reccommended repair procedures were followed.
If it was so easy rebuilders would grab up the multitude of Northstars avialable and rebuild them.
In fact I reccommend that you do this as there is a fortune to be made as these engines continue to fail.
When I referred to "filling the engine" with stop leak I was not referring to the tablets Cadillac recommends but rather the solutions mentioned above. By the way in the earlier owners manuals for Northstar engines, the tablets were not mentioned. After the problems with the engines surfaced "conditioning" as you call it was recommended. Seems like a marketing ploy by Cadillac as the "conditioning tablets" contain similar ingredients to stop leak.
No I didn't buy a driveway project. Although you claim you can reasonably fix these engines in your driveway there are a lot of reputable and knowledgable experts who throw them away.
Check the engine rebuilders, then check the junk yards.
I'm an economist I see all the proof I need in the resale value of Cadillac's. The problematic engines are reflected in the low resale value, one of the lowest in the industry.

You say I don't know how many Cadillacs with 200K miles are driving around and thats correct. I also don't know how many are out there with JUNK YARD engines. I suspect the former is less than the latter.

Insomniac
10-11-04, 12:50 AM
Pjs
I think you have responded to a few of my points but not the important ones. I did not go to one Cadilac dealer I went to three, I did not seek the advice of one mechanic I went to several, I also spoke to Cadilac customer service, I also solicted estimates and advice from several large well known engine rebuilders.

1) what does that matter if you went to three? you might as well go to one, or none for that matter. generally speeking, all dealers will try the same things.

2) what mechanics and rebuilders did you talk to? N* certified?

3) you need to coyboy up, get that sand out of your *****, and do the work you self if you not satisfied with the prices and quality of the public.

when i read your first post i felt sorry for you, but i read further and i relised something: you bitch alot. my father is the same way, so i understand where your comming from. bottom line, it's not the N*'s fault, it's unwilling/bad mechanics and dealerships.

Spyder
10-11-04, 02:17 AM
If you don't want to pay to have it done in a shop, do it yourself...I'm currently in the process of putting a new motor in my 94 STS...quite easy to do, actually, if you just take the time to figure it out. It's saving me two grand and still has a decent warranty. All of the rebuilds which I found were great motors for very reasonable prices, but I did a little research and I think I found a good deal on a used motor for less money. Instead of complaining, you should fix the problem. You say that a "JUNK YARD" engine is such a bad thing...my '60 Dodge has a junk yard engine that puts out just over 400 hp, there's not a damn thing wrong with it...don't know what your problem is with that, do you not understand that mechanical things wear out? Metal rubbing on metal creates friction, especially at three and four and five thousand rpms. That causes fatigue and things do break once in a while. If the coolant system had been taken care of, then you wouldn't have had the headgasket start to leak. And why do you insist on NOT following what the factory tells you to do and does themselves. Stop leak was in it when you bought it, why would you change that? Don't fix what aint broke, eh? Would you buy a Lexus and run two stroke oil in it if the factory didn't tell you to? That would cause damage to it too! If you follow instructions for care and maintenance, then you have a very very very good chance of nothing more than routine wear items failing on your car. I'm not blaming you as I don't know the history of the car or your care, but SOMEBODY screwed up on that thing in the past.

bbozsik
10-11-04, 04:58 AM
My limited and not trained as a mechanic research indicates the northstar is a throw away engine not likely to last 100k miles unless you can live with a leaking, smoking, overheating vehicle filled with stop leak. It does not matter how well they are maintained.

Of course it matters how well they are maintained.

What you're doing is allowing your own personal experience to influence how you interpret the information available. You've also admitted to your *limited* research.

Because of your problem with a bad headgasket you should not issue an indictment against the Northstar engine. That's ludicrous.

I understand that most people find their way to automotive forums not out of love for their cars, but to complain about problems. That is what lead you here. I'm not trying to raise your ire, but you have to take a couple of steps back and realize that shit happens.

When I was a kid, I owned a 1991 Pontiac Sunbird that I drove from 111,000 miles 'till well over 200,000... and along the way gave it only three oil changes. And the thing was still running... quality engineering? Maybe. Dumb luck? Almost certainly.

Perhaps you are angry because you were misled by a dealer and are venting your frustrations here. That does happen on occaision... ergo you were not the first and will not be the last to do the same. If you stopped to think for a moment... how many people do you know that had headgasket problems with their cars or trucks, and the engine was ruined because of it? Is it an engineering marvel that very, very few Northstar engines have been internally damaged beyond repair? The fact that an all-aluminum engine can have repeated headgasket repairs is amazing enough, if you'd take the time to understand the mechanics involved.

How many pieces of modern electronic equipment fail days after their warranties expire? I'm typing on one right now. Brand new cost: $2200. Repair cost: $1224.90 Guess what? I'll be buying another unit from the same manufacturer within 2 years as I'm so pleased by the performance and quality of the system. I will not be detered by what is most definately a rare problem.

No More Cadillac's
10-11-04, 07:10 AM
What I meant when I said "it doesn't matter how they were maintained is in spite of meticuously maintaining the car including the cooling system the head gasket failed. Yes it was maintained properly.
I am interested in finding out where you got your engine from, what geographic area. How many miles price ect
If you read my post I did not intend to bash mechanics, or the dealer, I do think the Cadillac Co should stand behind the Northstar.

Pjs
10-11-04, 08:37 AM
Pjs
I think you have responded to a few of my points but not the important ones. I did not go to one Cadilac dealer I went to three, I did not seek the advice of one mechanic I went to several, I also spoke to Cadilac customer service, I also solicted estimates and advice from several large well known engine rebuilders. There advice was consistent the Northstar is a throw away engine, repairing it is expensive and risky.
I am not a mechanic and am not about to lift the engine out in my driveway. I did not buy a$2k car with 129k miles on it.

The point I was trying to make, and perhaps I was not specific enough is that many people can and do these repairs in their driveways, and with great success, why is it then that auto shops not want to tackle a relatively simple repair? Simply put, the shops do NOT know what they are talking about, Period! As a matter of fact, there is a thread titled "Water pump pulley" Go read it and then tell me that the dealer always know what they're talking about




On this website under Northstar there is at least one engine posted in which the block cracked after your reccommended repair procedures were followed.

Perhaps you should go back this morning and read the follow up to that discussion as I have. And I think you missed the part of that thread where the possibility of the block being frozen may have been a factor.



When I referred to "filling the engine" with stop leak I was not referring to the tablets Cadillac recommends but rather the solutions mentioned above. By the way in the earlier owners manuals for Northstar engines, the tablets were not mentioned. After the problems with the engines surfaced "conditioning" as you call it was recommended. Seems like a marketing ploy by Cadillac as the "conditioning tablets" contain similar ingredients to stop leak.

The conditioning tablets that cadillac uses at the factory are manufactured by Bars. Thats right...the same bars leak stop that you buy at the auto parts store. It's available in tablets from the dealer or in powder form from a parts store. It is a cooling system condition as well as a stop leak.



No I didn't buy a driveway project. Although you claim you can reasonably fix these engines in your driveway there are a lot of reputable and knowledgable experts who throw them away.

Well to be honest, I didn't buy a driveway project either. I bought a car which was not only a few years newer than the 91 Brougham that I was driving @ the time, but seemed to be in reasonably good shape. Great body and interior. Minor paint scratches and a leaking oil pan. I got the car for $1900 because of the leaking oil pan, the seller didn't want to mess with it. The car actually retails for almost $7000.00 at this point. Once I sold my other cad, this car really only cost me $200 out of pocket. As an economist you should appreciate this.



Check the engine rebuilders, then check the junk yards.
I'm an economist I see all the proof I need in the resale value of Cadillac's. The problematic engines are reflected in the low resale value, one of the lowest in the industry.
I doubt you have ever paid a visit to any remanufacturing facility, let a lone an engine rebuilder. You have no idea of whats involved nor do I have the time or inclination to try to explain it to you.


You say I don't know how many Cadillacs with 200K miles are driving around and thats correct. I also don't know how many are out there with JUNK YARD engines. I suspect the former is less than the latter.
Neither do I, nor do I really care. Those of us that post on this board are enthusiasts, we love our cars, which no doubt can be frustrating at times. Thats the way things go. However, we are here lend a hand to help one another. We would do the same for you, however it's very plain to see that you just want to come here and bitch about your misfortune. I and everyone else have tried to explain that your claims are not valid. You however ignore fact and turn around and spew falsehoods and try to make them sound valid.
It's apparent that your dissatissfied with your car and for that I'm sorry, but at the same time after all of this discussion, my thought is, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I've said all I've got to say and to continue this thread is pointless...have a nice day :banghead:

89eldorado
10-11-04, 12:34 PM
FYI I have a friend of a friend who works at a Ford headgasket design and manufacturing plant here in VA. I hear that he has to design headgaskets to fail at 100k miles... Just makes you think why all headgaskets arent copper.... probably because of temperature extremes, esp low low temps.... Im sure they could at least do something more sophisticated then what they have been doing for the last 30 odd years... Id like to see something like wavy rings between the flat rings, or something like that...

anyways good luck owning a cadillac, and im sorry you even stepped foot in a cadillac service dept. Ive noticed that my '89 eldorado is finally getting easy to disguse when asking for possible estimates on repairs. I think the old adage still holds true, say the word 'cadillac' and repair estimates get doubled!

good luck in your cadillac future,
Brian

BeelzeBob
10-11-04, 02:26 PM
Allow me to expand on what I found in my search for an engine. The supply of Northstars in salvage yards exceeds demand. There are many available such that there is no problem finding 100's in my local area. The price for these engines is reasonable. One local wrecking yard has 9. .



Based on what you say there must not be a lot of demand for the engines....i.e....there are not that many blowing up needing replacement.....if the supply in the salvage yards exceeds demand for them then that sounds like a good thing. If the salvage yards could sell everyone that they got then it would mean that a lot of Northstars were blowing up and needed replacement. Quite the opposite sounds like despite your experience.

caddydaddy
10-12-04, 08:36 AM
Check out this company. They rebuild Northstars and claim to be able to fix the headgasket and oil blow by problems.

http://www.expertengines.ca/custom.htm

So now you can't say nobody is rebuilding Northstars! This company is taking the time to do it right and cornering the market for themselves!

STS 310
10-12-04, 04:58 PM
Well every now and then an unhappy camper pitches a tent, stays for a few posts, thens packs up and leaves.

Happy Trails!

jl2
10-12-04, 07:22 PM
I had the same issue with low colant level. No one wanted to touch the head gasket, nor did they actually determine that's what it was. Hose went last week. No more coolant level came on. I also have the reccomended tablets in there

1toycad
10-13-04, 12:00 AM
No More: Your points are extremely valid. I am glad that you took the time to post and report your problems. You will not, however, ever convince the Kool-Aid drinking, true believers. You had a crappy experience with a Northstar engine and no one will ever convince you to buy another Caddy. That should be the end of the discussion. BTW, after you eventually sell the Eldo, what are you planning on getting?

I personally like the "old" GM push-rod engines. They may be old technology, but they sure last forever AND can be easily rebuilt. I also like the Vortec engines in the GMC Yukon. My wife has a 2002 Yukon with over 100K miles and it does not use any oil between oil changes. ;) My 99 Seville, with less than 30K, uses about a quart per 1K miles... :banghead:

Ranger
10-13-04, 10:50 AM
Toycad,
Check the link below and read about the oil issue. It doesn't bother me much now that I understand it.
http://www.cadillacforums.com/cadillac-tech.html

Pjs
10-13-04, 05:49 PM
That page should be included in the N* owners manual!

Ranger
10-13-04, 09:14 PM
I couldn't agree more. If Cadillac included that with every car the Northstar would have a better reputation and a lot less worried or disgruntled customers.

1toycad
10-13-04, 10:17 PM
Toycad,
Check the link below and read about the oil issue. It doesn't bother me much now that I understand it.
http://www.cadillacforums.com/cadillac-tech.html

Ranger:

I have read every post here, and elsewhere, regarding theoil consumption "issue." I am underwhelmed by the explanations.

I will, however, withhold judgment until my Seville hits the 200K miles mark and then see how it compares to other long running GM products that I have owned. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy the engine's power (which it has plenty of) and the sweet exhaust rumble (which is very cool).

No More Cadillac's
10-14-04, 02:04 PM
Check out this company. They rebuild Northstars and claim to be able to fix the headgasket and oil blow by problems.

http://www.expertengines.ca/custom.htm

So now you can't say nobody is rebuilding Northstars! This company is taking the time to do it right and cornering the market for themselves!
Thanks for the info. I took the time to call them and found that the rebuils are pricey in fact a new engine from Cadillac approaches the same price.
Did you know they were located in Canada? With the cost of transportation and the VAT taxes a new engine might be cheaper. Still think it would be a good business for someone here in the USA

caddydaddy
10-14-04, 02:52 PM
Yes, I knew they were in Canada. Even if they are close to the price of a new Northstar, it seems like they have the problems that the factory one has fixed, so you probably wouldn't have to ever worry about it happening again!

JSMeloche
10-15-04, 11:59 AM
NO MORE CADILLACS No MORE JUNKYARD ENGINES

I will quote my local recycler ;) Remember, all car run on used parts lol

Even if the engine comes from a junkyard, it does not mean its junk!

No More Cadillac's
10-16-04, 08:45 AM
At this point I havn't got mine back yet so I am hoping mine is not junk. It still seems that buying a used engine is the best alternative as other than the rebuilder in Canada I have not found a reliable rebuilder in the USA. If one is not going to install a JUNK YARD engine then a new engine is the best alternative - hardly worth the price.
I really don't understand why Cadillac doesn't fix this problem or at least "start up" a rebuild engine alternative. From what I have read herin this engines can be fixed, it just takes some specific knowledge and mechanical skills.
I havn't read anything that indicates Cadillac is atempting to improve the head gasket and oil use problems in the new engines being built.

BeelzeBob
10-16-04, 08:13 PM
You realize , of course, that cars and steel and aluminum are the most recycled items and materials on the planet. About 90% of the mass of a car is recycled as scrap metal.....so.....it is logical to say that , since most cars have a very high percentage of recycled content, that all cars are JUNK YARD CARS......LOL LOL LOL


BTW....most the aluminum for the Northstar block comes from pop cans.... Pop cans are very pure aluminum so they are a hot commodity in the recycling industry as it takes very little to reclaim the aluminum. Just happens that the aluminum from a reclaimation center in the midwest (that handles a lot of pop cans the last time I checked) is shipped , in molten state, to the foundry that casts the Northstar blocks. The pop cans are melted down, the alloy is certified and the molten aluminum is transferred to tanker trucks that carry it to the foundry where it is re-certified for alloy and adjusted with material ads if necessary and then used to die-cast the block.

importdvdz
10-17-04, 08:03 PM
I must agree, Northstar Engines are pure garbage. I own 96 ETC Black Eldorado Cadillac. I bought it all done up to the max, 18" Rims, lowered, 3000 stereo system. The car looks and drives like a dream, just one problem, The Engine. It takes huge load of oil, oil doesn't leak, it just gets burned. It is a common Northstar problem, I have only 70K Miles on it, and already with oil usage problem,that is not normal. I never seen a worst quality engine as of yet. I seen lots of engines for sale on ebay and in junk yard, but you never know if they have oil usuage problem or not, most of them do, so there is no point to change the engine unless it totally dies on you. If you drive an eldorado, get ready for oil usage, and other head gasket and cylynder problems!!. :disappoin

BeelzeBob
10-17-04, 11:48 PM
Pure garbage...???....just because it uses a little oil. Get over it. Oil consumption is normal for an engine. It really does not signify poor quality or an engine about to fail. The engine runs good, has great power, gets good fuel economy , etc... So it uses a little oil.... So what??

CadiJeff
10-18-04, 12:10 AM
If the car "uses" a lot of oil and dosn't leak then where is it going? You would notice large clouds of dark exhaust if it were burning it, and unless the OIL FAIRY visits your eldo nightly it is still there. My dads ranger w/ below 50k mi on it uses more oil than my 94etc as does my sisters chevy venture. my etc w/182000 mi uses 3/4 quart of oil per change interval, wow that must mean my northstar is a piece of crap.*


*Cadijeff's new dictionary defines crap as:a wonderful smooth running piece of fine engineering.

BeelzeBob
10-18-04, 12:29 PM
I think the thing that upsets people the most about Northstars and engines in general is the variability in oil consumption. They somehow expect all engines to never use any oil and/or for them all to use exactly the same amount of oil and if their particular engine uses a little bit more oil than they expect or than their brother-in-law's engine then theirs must be failing.....

Nothing could be further from reality.

Due to manufacturing tolerances, ring tension and finish variability, cylinder wall surface finish variability, etc..... there is actually quite a bit of variability between engines in oil consumption rates even given identical operating schedules. Throw in the tremendous variability in oils, oil change intervals, duty cycle, maintenance history and the current owner's driving schedule the variability in oil consumption can increase tremendously.

Trying to balance oil consumption necessary to lube the valve guides and upper rings and cylinder with overall oil consumption is a tricky process. The higher performance and the higher the operating RPM the engine is capable of the more oil consumption required and the greater the likely variability in oil consumption between engines.

ALL manufacturers experience this on their top end engines. ALL of them. Do the research and reading on the other internet forums and see for yourself. Read owners manuals and service manuals for Toyota, Mercedes, BMW, etc..... and find out that all manufacturers occasionally see engines that use some relatively high amounts of oil.

Most all manufacturers state that even oil consumption levels of 1 quart per thousand miles is not unheard of on an otherwise perfectly operating engine. BMW went so far on one of the M5 engines to recommend checking the oil ON EVERY TANK OF FUEL as consumption rates could leave the sump low in aggressive driving.

Not that all engines were necessarily designed to run 1 quart per thousand miles but that could happen within the normal range of production tolerances if several of the tolerances happened to stack up in the worst case directions. The Northstar is the same way.

If it is any consolation the engines that tend to use the most oil look absolutely perfect inside when dissassembled. Cylinder walls still have the factory honing pattern on them after 200K miles, etc. So...that is the price for a high performance, long lived engine...a little oil consumption over time. Pour oil in it and drive it and forget about it. Oil is cheap and easy to pour in. Much easier than replacing a worn out engine at 100K.

oldgamer
10-18-04, 02:08 PM
My 94' STS with 69K not uses oil much. It doesn't need even addition oil between changes. And I change oil when computer says, not every 3000 miles, like some do. I believe some people used to keep oil level a bit above normal and add oil every time if oil level gets close to normal level or a little lower. In this situation consumption of oil is higher.
If somebody ask me, what engine I preffer: engine with some oil consumption or much more expensive engine witch less consumption, I choose cheaper engine.

CadiJeff
10-18-04, 02:16 PM
bbob you and cadillac don't need to apologise(sp?). You have designed and mass produced an excellent piece of machinery that needs no excuses and has prooven itself time and time again. the only other engines that even compare to the northstars performance are large displacement fuel guzzlers that weigh more and don't last as long.
keep up the good work

dkozloski
10-18-04, 05:20 PM
I read somewhere that if your engine loses, in each cylinder, a dime sized spot of oil 0.0001 in. thick with each revolution, it will burn a quart of oil in a hundred miles. Acceptable oil consumption in an aircraft engine is 0.015lbs./brake horsepower/hr. A 225 HP engine can burn 1Qt./hr. and be okay. The military technical manual for the De Havilland Beaver aircraft says the engine is using too much oil when you can't get enough oil in the supply tank to get you where you want to go.
As kids we used to pull into the "service station" and tell the pump jockey, "Gas, oil, and water. A gallon of each. Pour the oil on the fender 'cause it's going to run on the ground anyhow". We weren't always kidding. You kids don't know how good you have it. Oil used to come in cans rather than bottles and you had to use a "church key" to get them open. Then your next few beers tasted oily. Thats why the oldtimers were said to have motor oil in their veins.

STS 310
10-18-04, 05:28 PM
You kids don't know how good you have it. Oil used to come in cans rather than bottles and you had to use a "church key" to get them open. Then your next few beers tasted oily. Thats why the oldtimers were said to have motor oil in their veins.

"And we used to have to walk 5 miles in the snow to school, barefoot...." :rolleyes:

chazglenn3
10-18-04, 05:48 PM
"And we used to have to walk 5 miles in the snow to school, barefoot...." :rolleyes:

Yeah, and it was uphill both ways, too!! :yup:

rrcjr
10-18-04, 05:57 PM
Gentleman:

Just a word i would like to put in here. This past year bought a pristine 97 deville with 110,000 miles. My first Caddy. Two weeks after i got it she began loosing coolant and eventually blew a head gasket. I found this forum and read just about every post on here for the last 8 months. My auto mechanic (who is very internet savvy) also researched the problem and was able to locate me a northstar certified person who did the whole job properly. I said all this to basically say - I absolutely LOVE this car. I love the near 300 horsepower, excellent handeling, and 30 mpg highway mileage.

I was a long time lincoln person (2 towncars and 1 contenintal) and i am convinced that even with its quirks the northstar system as a whole is probably the best overall (performance/fuel economy) engine i have ever driven. I'm not one that is scared of a major repair every 3 or 4 years on a car. All cars will have them no matter what. Not only that - the overall fit/finish and quality beats out anything lincoln has come out with in years.

I will probably never own another car WITHOUT the northstar for as long as cadillac continues to make them.. And by the way .... the limp-home mode the car was a lifesaver. ANY car that can get you home with no coolant in it and still be re-buildable has my loyalty for life.

The gentleman who was complaining about the northstar really needs a reality check. In this day and age no vehicle will go more than a few years without a major repair. I think that once you buy a caddy and drive it you really wont want anything else. I fell in love with mine.... quirks, flaws and all and now that i am well versed in what to look for in a used caddy, i am about to add a used sts to the garage to keep the deville company!

You guys on this forum do an excellent job of organizing massive amounts of information so i wanted to say THANKS and keep up the good work.

Richard

dkozloski
10-18-04, 07:01 PM
STS 310, It was only a mile one way on level ground but sometimes it was 60 below zero and that ain't windchill. My folks managed to provide me with warm clothes. My Dad managed a machine shop for $250/month.

BeelzeBob
10-18-04, 07:02 PM
rrcjr....your comments reflect the main point I keep trying to make...."...a pristine 97 deville with 110,000 miles...." Years ago this statement would be impossible to make. Any car that had been driven 110K would be FAR from pristine and be negated to some backwater used car lot for scrap prices. These days, with cars and engines capable of going well over 100K and bodies and interiors holding up so well ...and people driving more and more miles each year.... it is pretty common to come across something like this. That is why I keep saying that the Northstar and the FWD Cadillacs are becoming their own worst enemies....by lasting so well and looking so good with age people's expectations are unduly high sometime. Whether it is the oil economy, head gasket or whatever failing it just seems out of place to them given the otherwise pristine condition of the car. Given that it is likely the first major repair on the car yet required the cost per mile is still very low for the item...but it still seems out of place.

STS 310
10-18-04, 07:07 PM
Dkoz, no offense intended, I just coudnt resist. My grandparents always made sure to remind me of how good we have it.

Quadrasteer
10-18-04, 09:39 PM
WOW! I've read 3 pages of varied opinions and the only things missing are open minds and common sense. I also have been a mechanic for 34 years and have repaired everything from airplanes to appliances. Do I really hear people sticking up for a car that uses way too much oil, leaks oil, blows head gaskets that are very expensive to fix and is manufactured by a company that offers almost no help to it's customers! Those are only some of the major problems, the minor stuff that goes wrong with GM cars would be too numerous to list! I, so far have bought only GM vehicles but I will not defend a company, or it's product, when they obviously put money before quality or their customers. How can some of you try and rationalize major problems as being ok because other assets of the car are "worth it". When my family can't rely on a car, I don't care how nice it rides nor do I want someone bringing up the positive aspects of the car. Last Sunday, with 94k on it, my Deville ruptured a front brake hose. When I inspected the other side it was cracked in the same place. My '02 GMC Sierra Denali has cold start knock and terrible brakes among a long list of other problems. Every GM vehicle we buy needs an extended warranty or needs to be sold before the factory warranty runs out. Could you repair these problems? Yes. Should you repair these problems? Only if it makes sense. Dosen't the math speak for itself? With all the rebates and low financing on new vehicles should we put thousands and thousands of dollars into an older car that will most definately be needing more outrageously priced repairs in the near future? Most of these problems we speak about on this site are mistakes and bad engineering lets not try and justify them. Can you imagine all the money spent on repairing them, all the headaches and heartache they caused. I wonder how many people there are who didn't know about this site or have the money or ability to fix their car and lost a large sum of money? I wish I had all the money that I wasted on oil and premium fuel. But fool me once, I'm not putting thousands into an old car when I can put it towards a new dependable, cheaper to run vehicle. Just my opinion....

bbozsik
10-18-04, 10:02 PM
The main argument here is this...

GM and every other car manufacturer could have stopped redesigning their powertrains, and we could still all be driving around infinitely more refined Cadillac 500cu.in. monsters with engines as "bulletproof" as the GM 3.0 - 3.4 L v6 workhorses. Engines with a scant amount of new, groundbreaking engineering. And guess what? You could probably be driving those around for 30 years with few problems.

Or you could be driving cars that are becoming intricately more complex and engineered in completely new and unproven ways. Whereas, as BBobynski so presciently points out, people were lucky when their cars hit 100,000 miles, now you have Northstar engines that run well over 300,000 miles without a rebuild. I know of at least two examples of that from this board.

To put this in perspective... when did cancer become one of the leading killers of humans? When modern sanitation and medical care extended the average life span by decades and continues to do so. And the incidence of cancer keeps rising...

As you increase the longevity of a human, or a mechanical being, "faults" will become ever more apparent. If the weakest link in a Porsche engine was a piston, then as the cars racked up miles, more and more and more pistons would blow. Some people would say, "That's poor engineering." Others would say, "Could have been worse... it's a small price to pay for state of the art engineering and a car that I love and others drool over."

Everyone heralds superior German engineering... yet everyone that owns an older Audi swears and complains about it. My friend is on his third water pump for his 1999 Toyota Camry... yet he's not complaining, even though it's cost him well over 1,000 dollars extra after his warranty expired. Every man-made mechanism has some sort of fault... that's life, not bad engineering.

Rob Benham
10-19-04, 01:35 AM
This thread has aroused my interest because I was a fan of Toyota Supras in the UK. The best and the worst cars that I have ever owned. There is a company importing the (mandatory) low milage engines from Japan and the guy told me that they change the head gasgate on every one before reselling. "If they aren't leaking now, they soon will be."

I have learned here about Timeserts, but I am, from bitter experience, concerned that the head should be skimmed prior to refitting "If it's been too hot, it won't be straight."....I think I mentioned this before....any comments re the N*?

I also learnt on the site that the additive was not to plug some huge leak, but to protect against a multitude of capillary leaks round the bolts etc.

RLLOVETT
10-19-04, 07:52 AM
In researching my head gasket repair I found several mentions of the heads almost never needing to be milled--probably a function of the limp-home mode keeping the engine from excessive temps?

Pjs
10-19-04, 10:42 AM
and is manufactured by a company that offers almost no help to it's customers! Those are only some of the major problems, the minor stuff that goes wrong with GM cars would be too numerous to list! I, so far have bought only GM vehicles but I will not defend a company, or it's product, when they obviously put money before quality or their customers.


Aside from all the Mopars I've had in my life, I've owned 4 GM's. The first one was a used 66 Malibu w/ the 283 2BBL. The odometer had 83K on it when I got it. At 83K the car was pretty much toast because back then, cars just didn't last as long, however, I was amazed at this small block that was seemingly indestructible...and God knows I tried to just that. That think leaked and burned more oil than the Exxon Valdez. But even full throttle in first gear tearing through the pastures the engine wouldn't die. When I moved out of state my mother sold the car, which ended up in a demolition derby....and won. Surprisingly, I found the car in a local junk yard a year later.
The next GM was an 84 Caprice 305 4BBL. The car had 77K on it was in supurb condition (the upside to living in a retirement town). I drove that car for the next 10 years. Aside from the usual oil changes and such, I can say I put less than $500 into it. I still see the car running around the area that I live in from time to time.
My next GM was my first cad. 91 Brougham 305 FI. I found this car on a cadillac lot, it had 127K on it, and other than someone messing up the clear coat w/ some rubbing compound it was in great shape. I bought the car in 99 and just sold it a few months ago to pay for my SLS. Again, the only thing I ever had to do to it was drums and rotors, less than $200 in 5 yrs. BTW, it had 184K on it when I sold it and still ran like brand new.
Now I'm in my 4th GM, a 95 SLS. It had 129K on it and is now @ 136K. I've had to do some minor things, but I'll chalk that up to lack of maintenance on the former owners. My 91 Brougham never road as good as the SLS, and my Mopars although had a lot of performance, they certainly were NOT fuel efficent, maybe 8 miles to the gallon, 10 on the highway and lets not even talk about dependable.
I've owned a spattering of Fords as well...but they all sucked...everyone of them and I would never buy another.



How can some of you try and rationalize major problems as being ok because other assets of the car are "worth it". When my family can't rely on a car, I don't care how nice it rides nor do I want someone bringing up the positive aspects of the car. Last Sunday, with 94k on it, my Deville ruptured a front brake hose. When I inspected the other side it was cracked in the same place.
If brake hoses are the only thing wrong w/ your car @ 94K then I don't understand what your upset about. As a mechanic, how many brake hoses have you replaced in your career? As a mechanic I've replaced many, not to mention that when I sold auto parts I sold hundreds of them. It's a rubber part, it's going to wear out.


Dosen't the math speak for itself? With all the rebates and low financing on new vehicles should we put thousands and thousands of dollars into an older car that will most definately be needing more outrageously priced repairs in the near future?

Personally, I can't afford a car payment. I'm supporting my fiance in college. It makes much more sense to me to buy a decent used car and have to repair it once in awhile then to buy a new car, have the warranty run out and have to make payments AND fix it. As I pointed out in the post earlier, I have to drop my powertrain to fix an oil leak. Granted I wish I didn't have to go to this much trouble, but for a car that cost me $200 out of pocket to buy I really can't complain. I can fix it quicker than a shop would, I personally know that the work was done to my expectations..which are quite high and I'll save $1000 + a shop would charge. Seems to me that I'm the one thats money ahead.


Most of these problems we speak about on this site are mistakes and bad engineering lets not try and justify them. Can you imagine all the money spent on repairing them, all the headaches and heartache they caused. I wonder how many people there are who didn't know about this site or have the money or ability to fix their car and lost a large sum of money? I wish I had all the money that I wasted on oil and premium fuel. But fool me once, I'm not putting thousands into an old car when I can put it towards a new dependable, cheaper to run vehicle. Just my opinion....

I guess we can go on forever about the likes and dislikes of these cars. But as BBobynski has pointed out, go check out some other auto forums. As a matter of fact, go to the Ford forums...you think caddy's have problems??? I visit a lot of different sites like this, sort as a comparison, or one of my friends is having a problem with their vehicle and I'm trying to help them out. I know that this is just your opinion, but making a statement that this is bad engineering is really way off base. I was involved in manufacturing for a number of years. I worked closely w/ the engineering dept and the thing you have to understand is that engineering is nothing but a set of comprimises. You have an end result that your trying to achieve, in this case to deliver an automobile to the public that has luxury, high performance and to top it off, fuel ecomony. And you have to do it so that the general public and not just the super rich can afford to buy it. I don't care who's book your reading, thats a pretty tall order. The fact that not only did this group of engineers do it, they did such a great job that most of these cars, if properly maintained will see in excess of 200K. As a mechanic, I used to think engineers were completely clueless, but over the years I've been fortunate enough to know quite a few, electrical, mechanical and aerospace. Our own BBobynski has more than expained the reasons most things were designed the way they were, and in my opinion, I think they did a fabulous job.

dkozloski
10-19-04, 11:40 AM
Back in the 60's we used to buy a car and look forward to 50K trouble free miles. During that time I met an engineer that was hired in England by RCA to work over here and he couldn't believe it when we told him he wasn't going to have to pull the head off his new Mustang for decoking every 10K. Time marches on, machinery evolves until now we expect levels of service that could only be imagined a short while ago. By the same token I worked on a Kenworth truck in the early 60's that had 3.5 million miles on it and had averaged 700 miles/day over the AlCan highway from the day it was built. The best is yet to come.

bbozsik
10-19-04, 01:53 PM
The best is yet to come.
Truer words have ne'er been spoken


except for W04. :lildevil:

BeelzeBob
10-19-04, 03:23 PM
Quadrasteer .......



Lacking common sense....????..... Complaining about a rubber brake hose with almost 100K on it that has likely had the calipers dangling from the hose during the aforementioned rotor/pad change does not exactly sound like common sense either. If those brake hoses were "blowing out" commonly I expect we would have heard about it but the only mention I have ever seen was your post. Think they might have been overstressed in a previous service attempt or the last one?? In any case, you wouldn't have "lost the brakes" as the dual braking systems on the cars, along with the mechanical parking brake backup would have stopped the car and alerted you with a warning light. Something lacking on yesteryears cars.

As far as the problems mentioned on the forum. Two thoughts. One: Naturally anyone with a problem is going to complain here. Problems on any forum are not representative of what is going on in the real world to the other 99.999% of the vehicles out there. Two: What about the problems NOT mentioned on the forum...such as sludging and failing engines like Toyota, broken timing belts like Lexus,Toyota, et. al., leaking head gaskets that need retorquing periodically like Honda, complete engine failure due to the Nikasil coating on the cylinder bores failing like BMW and Mercedes, Timing chain failures like Mitsubishi, V12's spitting their guts on the ground due to hydrostatically locked cylinders on engine oil like Mercedes, timing gears and lobes spinning on the cams like SVO Ford Taurus (Yamaha engine) etc...etc...etc.... Not to bad mouth anyone else but to point out that each and every product has their problems and challenges and their appropriate hate sites. You need to read and do some research before you make too much of a big deal about what you read here on Northstars. They are pretty reliable in the grand scheme of things.

Where do you cross the line between "bad engineering" and "wear and tear" when a vehicle passes 100K...???? The fact that your Deville sounds like it runs good and is fairly reliable at 100K sounds good to me. It may not be perfect but it is still not that bad.

A neighbor of mine has a Northstar Deville and has complained to me about several things on it also....she continues to complain and drive it....at last count it had 185,000 miles on it with no major work......damn oil burner she calls it.....LOL LOL If you had to chose between 200K of burning oil and replacing the rings every 100k which would it be.???

Your last thoughts are what I mentioned earlier. EVERYTHING costs more to fix than seems reasonable and it always is "cheaper" to buy a new one than fix the old one. If you are willing and able to fix yourself a high mileage used car can be a good bargain but can turn into a nightmare when it has a high dollar repair. Same with TV's, washing machines, dishwashers, snowmobiles, etc.....in my experience.

Manufacturer not willing to stand behind it and offering no help...????....just for how long should they stand behind it..??? If you buy a new vehicle you get a warranty. With GM and Cadillac you get a VERY good warranty. And Cadillac is known for taking care of it's customers for warranty. At some point it is out of warranty. You bought a used car with no warranty. You bought it with that understanding. That is one reason that it was so inexpensive. If it has a problem then, don't start blaming the manufacturer for your bad luck or what happened to the car earlier before you bought it. No further comment needed.

dkozloski
10-19-04, 06:20 PM
In 1960 my boss's wife's four year old Caddy chucked a rod out through the oil pan while running in the driveway. When I tore it down I found that a rod nut had unscrewed from the bolt and both undamaged parts were found in the pan. I gave him the parts in a paper bag and overhauled and installed a junkyard engine to get the thing going. He gave the parts in the bag to the local dealer without much hope because at that time the warranty was pretty pitiful compared to today. About six-weeks later he got a call to bring the car in because he was going to get a new engine for free compliments of the factory. When the dealer did the swap my boss gave me the junkyard one and I put it in a Willys coupe. Even then Cadillac treated the customers better than any other domestic make.

caddydaddy
10-20-04, 08:18 AM
The dealer has treated me amazingly well for repairs on my 2000 STS. I don't think I could ask for any more from a dealer for warranty work!

oldgamer
10-20-04, 09:39 AM
You are the lucky man. I know some people who went to the dealer for work like battery replacement or coolant - oil level checking. It is just hundred or couple hundreds bucks, is it? And they are happy.
I wish somebody create a poll to check how cadillacs owners are happy with dealers. I tried to but it doesn't work for me, may be some rights... :annoyed:
I don't think other, non cadillac dealer are better anyway...

CadiJeff
10-20-04, 12:51 PM
dealers are dealers, they don't make their money fixing cars, they make it selling cars.

If you want an absurd comparison for bad service prices try inkjet printers. $85 for a low end brand name printer.....in no time it runs out of ink.....you have to spend $35-$45 on the color ink and $25-$35 on the black ink...so in a year you have spent two and 1/2 times the price of the printer w/ ink on ink alone. Try that proportionally versus a head gasket repair.

oldgamer
10-20-04, 01:05 PM
It doesn't make me feel better about stealers anyway. If they can ripp you off they will. :lildevil:

No More Cadillac's
10-23-04, 08:26 AM
Received my car back today with the junk yard engine installed. It seems to run fine with no issues. My mechanic has another customer with a blown Northstar the customer is waiting for him to locate an engine, like mine that was still in the car.
I still have concerns that the installed engine might burn oil, use coolant or knock so I will be monitoring it closely. The total job cost $4300 with tax. I got a couple of fringe benefits out of it including a tune-up, oil change and coolant replacement and of course the 6 coolant "conditioner tablets"

Pjs
10-23-04, 01:12 PM
At 136K on my odometer, I've got my engine out of the car to replace the oil pan gasket. While I've gone this far I've decided to replace the rest of the seals, intake, valve cover & spark plugs. Upon inspection all 4 cams are still showing the original grinding marks. The timing chains, tensioners and gears are showing virtually NO wear. I was amazed at how clean the bottom end of this engine is. To say i'm impressed is an understatement. I've had countless engines apart over the years and the only other one that sticks in my mind as being in this good of shape was out of a 70 Mercury X100 that had over 250K on it. If I had another weeks vacation and a few hundred more dollars I'd pull the heads just to see the bores and pistons. Bbob..thanks, you boys have really done a superb job on this one! :thumbsup:

Ranger
10-23-04, 09:19 PM
dealers are dealers, they don't make their money fixing cars, they make it selling cars.


I have heard it said before that the service department carries the sales department and that is where the real money is made in a dealership.

dkozloski
10-24-04, 02:23 AM
The secret to Gillette razors was give away the razors and sell the blades. In the service industries you pay the overhead with labor and make your money on the parts.

rswaim
10-28-04, 06:21 PM
Ranger
Just to say, I did work for a Mitsubishi dealer. I was told by my boss, "Sell the cars at the best price you can. We will make our money in the service department. Warranty work pays us well."
When a customer comes in to have their car serviced, and you do a good job, they will be back. Money in the pocket. ;)

No More Cadillac's
10-30-04, 07:49 AM
Throwing away an engine is different than throwing away a razor blade. (Ha Ha)

No More Cadillac's
10-30-04, 08:04 AM
http://www.babcox.com/editorial/us/us100232.htm
The attached thread confirms the known problems with Northstar engines and it quotes major eng rebuilders are not rebuilding these engines not because they last forever but because they are too expensive to fix.

BeelzeBob
10-30-04, 06:14 PM
http://www.babcox.com/editorial/us/us100232.htm
The attached thread confirms the known problems with Northstar engines and it quotes major eng rebuilders are not rebuilding these engines not because they last forever but because they are too expensive to fix.


Funny....that article quotes the Cadillac press literature almost work for word until they get to the last part....then as soon as they try to write something original they blow it in the first paragraph....!!!...LOL

The Northstar cylinder liners ARE serviceable, they are REBOREABLE 1mm oversize. GM is not servicing oversized parts for the engine simply because there is little or no demand for them. The aftermarket hotrodders are making oversized pistons for the engines used in competition and they work fine when the cylinders are overbored.

Why would GM start re-manning engines when they are still producing the new versions of the engine...??? Wouldn't make sense. It would cost more to re-man and engine than make a new one if the original, high volume process is still in place. Think about it.

"Expensive" is a relative thing. That just means that "they" cannot reman an engine cheaper than GM can produce a new one. As long as GM provides the new replacements there will likely be no market for a reman. No all aluminum engine can be remanned as cheaply as a simple all cast iron boat anchor. Just facts. Just like it costs more to produce a new all aluminum engine than a cast iron engine of similar make. Just because the cost to reman the engine in todays climate doesn't mean it can't be done.

Aftermarketers "said" that the 4.1/4.5/4.9 engine couldn't be remanned also because the wet liners were "too complex" and such. After showing EngineMaster how to do it, they proceded to produce thousands and thousands of 4.x reman engines that they found are easier to reman than any other engine that they have done before. They reclaim more parts from the 4.x cores than any other brand of engine they do. They have a higher success rate and lower warranty on the 4.x engines than any other engine they do. Not bad for an engine that couldn't be remanufactured...!!! Maybe someone just needs to show the aftermarket "experts" how to reman a Northstar engine now.....LOL LOL Trust me, if there was a demand, they could be remaned as easy and successfully as any engine out there.

Your reference is terribly dated. That article has been on the web for ages.

You really need to take a Northstar engine apart with someone that knows something about it and learn what is in it first hand so that you can understand this. Surfing the web will not make you an expert on the engine.

No More Cadillac's
10-31-04, 07:14 AM
Thanks for your interesting and prospective reply. Although there may not be a demand for remanfactured Northstar engines, there is a high demand for Northstar engines with reliably repaired head gaskets. There is also a high demand for used engines as a result of the known head gasket failures.

chuck jenkins
10-31-04, 09:17 AM
http://www.expertengines.ca/custom.htm HERE'S A NORTHSTAR REBUILDER

BeelzeBob
10-31-04, 11:46 AM
Looks like those guys have at least part of their act together....

I wonder how they came to the conclusion that the cylinder walls had "excessive wear" thought. EVERY one that I've ever looked at, even with over 300K on them, still had the original factory honing pattern in them. Couldn't be too much "wear" there if the factory honing pattern is still visible....

The practive of honeing with a head plate is certianly a good idea for any engine to ensure as round a bores as humanly possible. I suspect that their idea of wear came from needing to provide an explaination for oil consumption and the need for a slightly larger piston to allow for rehoning with the head plate.

I would be a little wary of a forged piston for that application, though. I will certainly be strong and live fine but forged pistons are notoriously noisy. Just that most people that put forged pistons in an engine race it and never notice the piston slap...LOL... You have to increase running clearance significantly with a forged piston due to it's growth characteristics with warmup temperatures and the fact that it is very very difficult to make a forged piston compliant enough to run with the tight clearances required for the engine to be quiet, especially on a cold start. It will certainly "work" but would be highly suspect for hot scuff and cold start rattle in extreme conditions.

Otherwise, looks like a competent job on the surface.

ellives
10-31-04, 07:05 PM
3 summary comments about various posts:


About the discussion regarding dealers and service... Back in February '04 I had a bunch of work done on my '96 SLS... Part of the work was to replace the plugs and wires. The dealer charged me $180US to change the wires and $173US to change the plugs. This was on top of a $117US "diagnostic" fee. This was on top of paying suggested retail for the parts themselves (which I can buy online myself for a lot less.) These charges for this work were just thievery and my biggest complaint about the dealer. Nobody can say they're not making money delivering service at those prices.

Regarding the article above concluding the major rebuilding are "not rebuilding" I REALLY have problems with these kinds of generalizations without references. It makes me want to discount anything said in the article at all as suspect. At best it's unprofessional behavior and at worst it's criminal. It's the kind of behavior that has created the political environment we live in today in the US.

I have noticed a Canada-based rebuilder mentioned a number of times in this thread. There is another... Jasper (http://www.jasperengines.com/index.html)
who was recommended to me by a mechanic friend as the ONLY rebuilder they use. I checked and they rebuild the N*. Who are these purported experts claiming no one is rebuilding? Let's see some names!

Ells

mastertech
11-01-04, 11:29 AM
Ranger, every dealer I've ever worked for (five, in total) sales always blows away service. The profit margin is the largest for used cars, but sometimes sheer volume on the new car sales will beat that, too. Service departments usually profit alright, with the parts department breaking even or having a very small profit/loss. It has a lot to do with the accounting procedures internally to the dealer, such as whose salary is paid from which department, and so on. But looking at service only, our labor rate of 82.00/hour is probably very average. Our shop is small, we only have four techs who fight tooth and nail for work this time of year. I doubt anyone is getting rich from us.LOL! As a technician, I am used to getting slammed by customers, more than a few have been pretty unethical themselves( passing off damage or abuse as a warranty concern, odometer tampering, aftermarket nightmares, etc.). The best solution is to talk PERSONALLY to your technician. Find one you like, and request that he( or she) be the only one to work on your vehicle. It is amazing what can happen from a customer/tech relationship, and even the unscrupulous techs will have a hard time pulling any s**t on a customer they know personally. On any given day you can be a hero, or you can be an a**hole. It's a rough life, but I still love it when someone takes a minute to thank me personally for the effort I've put forth on their car. Try it sometime, you might be pleasantly surprised! If you can't find a tech you like, go somewhere else. Good guys are out there!

chevyorange
11-01-04, 11:30 AM
How many pieces of modern electronic equipment fail days after their warranties expire? I'm typing on one right now. Brand new cost: $2200. Repair cost: $1224.90 Guess what? I'll be buying another unit from the same manufacturer within 2 years as I'm so pleased by the performance and quality of the system. I will not be detered by what is most definately a rare problem.

Are you using a Macintosh? They usually don't fail but the price looks right!

Adam
Powered by Macintosh and Northstar!

dkozloski
11-01-04, 12:04 PM
What we are all fighting is the bean counters mindset that at the end of a set time period a car has no value. Once it is depreciated it is just like any other consumable. The rub is that the repair parts and labor still cost the same as if it were new. Now somebody comes along and buys an old car because the price is right(depreciated to near zero). Something breaks and the cost of repair is outrageous. The mechanic turns into a robber because he won't work on your "honey" for nothing. The dealer is a crook because he won't give away the parts. At some point every old car turns into a hobby. If you are skilled enough to be able to fix it yourself you can enjoy it. If you are trying to use a dead horse for a daily driver you are on the road to misery. You may have a beautiful old car but there is a time gap from zero value until it becomes a collectable. If you can't afford to weather the storm you better stick with less expensive makes. It would be nice if the major parts could be made bulletproof. There is always that group of people that should have nothing to do with machinery. They have the uncanny ability to reduce a car to a hulk in no tiime without visibly abusing the machine. My daughter is one of these. She goes through engines and transmissions on a regular basis and she is always having to trade in a hopeless cause but all for no apparent reason.

ellives
11-01-04, 03:41 PM
I'm not convinced it's a beancounter's mentality, although beancounters are always there in the end aren't they? Low resale value is due to the PERCEPTION the value isn't there. Until Cadillac addresses this issue, the resale will continue in the dumps. I think they're getting there with the A&S strategy. They need to use this to get out of the "Cadillac is an old man's car" perception. I can't tell you how many times I hear that.

The cost of parts will always be an issue. This is pure supply and demand. The parts you can buy from other sources will be priced reasonably. Those you can't will be outrageous. We all have to decide whether it's worthwhile to spend the money, and if not and choose to buy another product, whether it will be a product from the same manufacturer.

I have this problem with my phone system at work. The current vendor (Avaya) makes arguably the best product in the industry but they have treated me like their own personal piggy bank by charging me $350/hour for support on TOP of their annual support fee. Guess what? They will not get the business from me when the lease is up. This change will cost them the money they would have made on a replacement system, the implementation fees and any recurring revenue they would get. All because their rates are outrageous and I don't need to buy what I need from them. I would not consider their strategy a sound one and I believe the market agrees with me.

We all work to make money and GM is no exception. They need to provide more value per cost than their competitors and explain how they do it to gain market share. The communication challenge is probably their biggest one right now. The market perception is against them. Consider "No More Cadillac's" threat to go back to Japan Inc. The perception is he'll be more satisfied whether true or not.

Personally I'm just as happy they don't fix the perception. I still think preowned Caddies are one of the best values out there. I paid $7100 for my '97 STS and yes I've put a few dollars into it since then but like I said to my son recently, you can't even compare this car to a Scion at 1/2 the cost of a Scion.

Either way I've been hooked for a long time on Cadillac and I will spend my money with one of the 2 US car companies left. (It was a crime that Daimler was allowed to purchase Chrysler but I won't go there.) Since I will never own a Ford as long as GM is around, Cadillac is my vehicle of choice.

No More Cadillac's
11-04-04, 06:17 PM
The trouble with your resale logic is "What are you going to do when long term customers like me don't buy $50K Cadillacs and then make them available for resale"
Cadillac's customer service and failure to correct known problems is killing resale value as well new sales.

ellives
11-04-04, 06:38 PM
Oh I agree the lack of resale is not long term sustainable. I've discussed on this forum the fact Cadillac needs to take a few ideas from Mercedes and Lexus around selling premium product. They can't treat Cadillac buyers like Chevy buyers.

Only until they make the value case to their new buyers will resale values improve. I hope they can do it.

No More Cadillac's
11-05-04, 12:47 PM
I coundn't agree more. When you buy a car a reasonable expectation is that if something goes wrong with the engine it can be fixed, by the majority of competent repair shops in a marketing area. Instead Cadillac created an engine that can only be repaired by a small couterire. No one expects to buy this car and have to throw away the engine.

ellives
11-05-04, 08:59 PM
I think it's clear the engines can last a long time. If you've had all the scheduled maintenance performed and the engine still fails they should back it up by replacing it. I seem to recall Rolls Royce actually sealed the engine compartment on their cars. No owner-serviceable parts inside. Cadillac will probably go there too... and probably a smart move. It's clear the intention is to go a long time without maintenance. It's not a big leap to see them simply say, you want a warrantee? Let us service the thing for you.

Ells

BeelzeBob
11-05-04, 09:44 PM
I coundn't agree more. When you buy a car a reasonable expectation is that if something goes wrong with the engine it can be fixed, by the majority of competent repair shops in a marketing area. Instead Cadillac created an engine that can only be repaired by a small couterire. No one expects to buy this car and have to throw away the engine.



Anyone that bothers to read the service manual and follow simple directions can easily repair the engine. Anyone can prove this for themselves by getting the service manual, reading it and understanding what is in the engine. The stated problem is really defined as mechanics that are "too smart" to read the instructions provided.....they try it "their way" (since they obviously know more than the people that designed the engine and wrote the repair procedures) and fail and then blame it on the engine since, of course, THEY cannot be wrong. I have seen countless examples of this in field return engines. Between complete misdiagnosis, improper repair procedures and "no problem found" you can just about categorize 90 percent of field warranty returns. We received EVERY Northstar engine that had a warranty issue for the first several years of production so as to be able to diagnose the engines correctly. We still routinely receive field return engines that are a warranty "pull" for diagnosis. We see engines that have been torn down for "incurable rear main seal leaks" and then returned where the power steering pump was leaking oil into the valley causing the complaint. We see engines damaged by improper disassembly techniques. A prime example is the normal repair of the head bolt holes with Timeserts. Until I started posting on this and several other forums "timeserts" were unheard of...even by several techs at Cadillac dealerships that argued with me. They try helicoils and other inserts, the repair fails and then blame the engine as being "unrepairable" and "throwaway". This whole issue is as frustrating to the engineers that designed and developed the engine as well as it is frustrating to the customer. The correct and proper service procedures are provided for dealership personel. Too bad they do not take advantage of them. I have personally seen numerous techs cleaning head bolt threads out with a cutting tap. This RUINS the threads and causes the head bolts holes to then strip upon reassembly. Of course they blame the engine, not their improper technique.

Sorry for the rant here but I am personally tired of hearing BS from people about the Northstar being a throwaway or unrepairable. Especially from people that are simply venting or repeating what they heard from an unknowlegeable source. Anyone on this forum that has taken the engine apart themselves can see the correct design features, understands how relatively easy the engine is to work on and knows for themselves how repairable it is.

About the ONLY item that I have EVER seen mentioned on any forum about the Northstar that is tagged as "unrepairable" is the repeated problems that people have trying to fix headbolts. I have never heard of anyone that installed the timeserts correctly that had a problem, however. The timesert procedure was developed, tested, validated and released for service before the first Northstar engine was produced. It is called out in the service manual for the 1993 Allante which was the first application of the Northstar engine. There is absolutely no excuse for anyone not knowing this. Any of the other claims of a throwaway design are simply wrong.


The fact is that I do not take an impact wrench to my dishwasher when it needs repair. I find the correct service procedure and follow it and, as a result, have been able to fix and repair just about anything that I own that has a problem. Too bad that cannot be instilled in the automotive service industry.

The fact is that the Northstar engine is not a cast iron boat anchor engine of 30 years ago. It is a high performance engine that is all aluminum for lightness. It gives excellent specific power and power density and has the ability to last for hundreds of thousands of miles as evidenced by the number of the engines still running out there with that many miles on them and the condition of the insides of the engines that do have to come apart for a specific problem.


I have studied in detail teardown comparisons between the Northstar engine and ALL of it's competitors. There are rows of tables in teardown displays at all the autocompanies of competitors problems. I am here to tell you that the Northstar engine is simple and elegant to a fault compared to the competitors from Mercedes, BMW, Ford, Toyota, Jaguar, etc. And I am talking about their all aluminum, double overhead cam 4 valve engines. The Northstar is simpler, easier to work on and repair, has fewer parts to go wrong, etc. If anyone thinks for a moment that the Northstar is complex, is unrepairable or needs a "special person" to work on them has little or no experience with what is out in the market place these days. If you think you are going to take any of the competition or a Northstar to a hammer mechanic in a back alley and get good results then guess again. But this is no different than any upscale, highperformance product.

Continuing the maintain that the Northstar is a throwaway or unrepairable is rediculous, especially since you cannot point out what is unrepariable nor what makes it a throwaway.

ellives
11-05-04, 10:37 PM
Well said! Unfortunately this situation is prevalent in almost any industry including my own ( computers.) We call these "hammer mechanics" (in your terms) "hacks" in our lingo. This is because they use the trial and error method to find a (usually wrong) result rather than simply looking it up in the manual (RTFM) or studying the problem out.

My current job is a good example. When I started 6 months ago, they couldn't keep things running in one area with fully 5 people dedicated to it... Now after a bunch of work but USING the technologies we have and DEPLOYING them the way they were designed, we don't have enough "busy" work for even 2 people. Go figure. But before now the company line is the technology was terrible and who wrote that terrible software, etc.

Cadillac *must* (if they don't already) certify their mechanics and keep testing them periodically to ensure they know what they are doing. Personally I've not had any catastrophically bad experiences at the dealer I use but I haven't had any major work done either.

I will say that part of the problem has been changes and improvements that have come along which really require different handling than has been used in the past and mechanics are too hard pressed for time to really understand the changes. Dexcool is one example. I've heard nothing but bad about it from my mechanic friends but I really think it's because it was new and people didn't take the time to understand how to properly work with it.

For what it's worth I saw somebody tonight bragging they had a loaded 2005 Cadillac.... How often has THAT happened prior to A&S?

Ells

chazglenn3
11-05-04, 10:50 PM
Case in point in this post...Northstar with 366,000 miles!!!

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24705

BeelzeBob
11-05-04, 10:51 PM
I agree with your logic and example. Computers are still pretty new, though. Cars and engines have been around for 100 years...plenty of time for all the "old wives tales" to develop and tons and tons of bak habits to develop. What mechanics got away with on cast iron engines just will not work on modern all aluminum engines.

Cadillac provides ample training availability and the proper service documentation. You can lead a horse to water...... . You just don't know if the tech working on your car is an "old schooler" that doesn't believe that you can't put a damper on with an impact or whether the tech just graduated from autoshop 2 weeks ago....and his autoshop teacher was an old schooler....LOL Not to desparage the good techs out there that learn and use the correct procedures. There are some really good guys in the shops. There are also some hacks. I see the result of the hacks quite frequently in our weekly warranty teardown reviews. The good guys fix the problem and the customer never needs to come back so we never hear about it.

Another typical case is a car with a tremendous amount of warranty work. After looking at all the parts that were replaced it is obvious that no diagnosis was done and the tech just started replacing parts until the problem went away. So...you never really know what the problem was and the tech thinks "all those parts" were bad....LOL.

dkozloski
11-06-04, 02:02 AM
bbobynski, it amazes me how some of the stuff the oldtimers did has been misinterpreted. I used to operate a Bryant aircraft cylinder grinder that did amazingly accurate work. I made up some adapters so that I could do some motorcycle work for fill in. A customer brought in some BMW cylinders and laid out some pretty detailed specs regarding the job he wanted. Working to tenths of thousanths with that grinder was pretty easy but I still spent some extra time being sure. When he picked up the cylinders he proceeded to tell me how he was going to put the cylinders out in the weather to rust like they did in the old days. He had incorrectly assumed that the seasoning they used to do on semi finished castings had something to do with surface finish and not stress relief. He was dumbfounded when I explained how the castings used to be laid out in a yard for a year or more for stress relief to minimize warpage and how now days the same process was done in a heat treating oven if at all. I talked him into letting me finish the job for him and get the right fit and finish with a Sunnen rigid hone rather than throwing them out in the back yard. I supervised and did hands on overhauls on hundreds of aircraft engines and it got so I could spot the amateur jobs almost instantly. Murphy was an optimist.

BeelzeBob
11-06-04, 04:05 AM
Yea, there is no doubt that there were extremely competent machinists and mechanics "back then".....there were also the normal amount of butchers. Whether the process or ideas that were generated were good ideas or bad ideas they do not necessarily apply to todays engines. What worked in cast iron does not work in aluminum, for example, yet many "mechanics" never seem to make a distinction. As I said, I am not disparaging mechanics and techs in general but it is frustrating to see so many botched repair jobs and hear the internet and dealership "experts" proclaim the Northstar engine to be unrepairable and throwaway when they obviously do not know what they are talking about.

No More Cadillac's
11-06-04, 08:00 AM
bbobynski
Enjoyed your post even read it twice. I believe everything you have written. In fact I am convinced that the Northstar has proper engineering and well thought out repair techniques. I am sure the repair instructions are clear and will fix the problem.
The fact remains that in Long Island NY, a geographical area that has not less than 6 Cadillac dealerships, it is difficult if not impossible to have head gaskets repaired on this engine. In addition major "motor shops" will not guarantee repair. Those shops that will attempt to repair the engine offer economically unfeasible alternatives that approach $10k.
Cadillac is responsible for ensuring their dealers understand how to maintain and fix their products in a timely manner, at a reasonable price, without undue risk and with appropriate warranties to their loyal customers.
My experience with dealers was they were either not willing to repair the head gasket, or the price was economically unfeasonable ( $5 to $8K without a firm price - we will give you the bill when we are done) and the warranty was unacceptable 90 days to six months. There was also an added element of risk - too much risk, as one would not use time serts, some would only drill those holes were they felt they needed timeserts. I did not feel comfortable in telling profesional mechanics how i wanted the head gasket repaired. You should know that one Cadillac dealership cliamed "he would use your method if thats what I wanted but there would be no warranty" Accordingly, my best alternative was to throw away the engine.
Cadillac needs to train, supervise and moniter there dealers such that the customer doesn't have these problems and decisions to make. I simply wanted a warranted repair in the reasonable price range $5 to $6k I don't feel a two year 24K mile warranty is unreasonable, I would have settled for less.
Accordingly, I can only assume this repair procedure is too hard for Cadillac mechanics to perform. Perhaps too time consuming or for a dealer too make a profit. Too exacting for a mechanic too warranty it. Or perhaps the training of dealer mechanics is too expensive and they learn on the job.
Be that as it may I still find fault with Cadillac. Dealers should repair and warranty these engines without the inherent risks described above. Cadillac should insure that this occurs at every dealership. In fact I believe there should be a catalouge price to repair a head gasket "only"
What do you think a reasonable price that includes 15% profit for the dealer with a two year 24k warranty should be?

ellives
11-06-04, 10:12 AM
Interesting question. I wonder what it costs (the labor portion only) to have a new engine installed. I noticed you can buy a brand new N* from gmpartsdirect.com for $5K (including the $500+ "shipping and handling" BS - over 10% of the cost is S&H? Give me a break!)

If the cost of replacing the head gasket gets anywhere near the 50% mark of a new engine, I'd go for the engine. (I wouldn't hope the cost wouldn't get there.)

I *will* say that my own experience having engine work on ANY car has been abysmal. I had the head gasket replaced on my '87 Nissan Stanza ( I was lax about changing the antifreeze which is the source of the original problem) by a local engine repair place and the car was never the same... leaked oil, etc.
After this experience I decided I'd never have that level of service on an engine done again. The car was gone within 6 months of the engine repair. It was otherwise in perfect condition. I just didn't want to get into another serious problem with it that stemmed from the original repair.

I have to go back and look at the original post from "No More Cadillac's" so I can see what caused the original failure.

Pjs
11-06-04, 10:39 AM
If you've been following the thread about the main bearing pics you can see that the only thing I haven't done on my engine yet is to disturb the head gaskets and rod bearings. I've been very impressed by this engine, it's design and ease of service. Not to mention that at 137K the guts still look almost new...I still can't get over the crosshatch being so visible.

Having been this far, I'm really at a loss to understand why people are so afraid of working on these engines. They really are pretty straight forward and as long as you follow the manual you should not have any problems. If I had the finances believe me I'd tear the rest of my engine down just so I could to the timesert and gasket replacement for nothing more than just to learn how to do it. The next time you hear that a N* is a throwaway you should realize that the person saying it has absolutely NO idea of what they are talking about.
My biggest problem as it turns out is the dealers. I've had an on going saga for the past few days because the people at the some dealerships don't take advantage of the information available to them and basically are telling customers invalid information. It's really sad when you ask a technical question and have a service guy give you a blank stare and a shrug his shoulders and saying..."I ain't got a clue". Hardly the kind of image Cadillac should be portraying through their dealers. All in all, I love my car, I think the engine is great, but I'll be visiting the dealer with a lot more caution in the future.

Ranger
11-06-04, 08:23 PM
Bbobynski,
This whole discussion brings to mind a question I have always wondered about and you touched on earlier. How exactly do mechanics keep up with new technology? When the Northstar came out it was entirely new (clean paper I think is the term you used). Does Cadillac train these mechanics everytime a new engine or trans comes online? Who pays for the training if it is offered (or is it mandatory)? Does the mechanic get paid for going? Just visiting these sites I have learned so much from you (BTW THANK YOU) that I was amazed at how much I had fallen behind that I can't imagine how a mechanic keeps up with it. Apparently some don't. Who is this allowed to happen?

Spyder
11-06-04, 10:42 PM
Interesting question. I wonder what it costs (the labor portion only) to have a new engine installed. I noticed you can buy a brand new N* from gmpartsdirect.com for $5K (including the $500+ "shipping and handling" BS - over 10% of the cost is S&H? Give me a break!)

Ellives...I just finished an installation of a new motor in my 94 STS yesterday...been driving it about a week, but got all the bugs worked out yesterday, finally. I decided to do it myself, as the dealer was running about three grand and everyone else ran between 1500 and 2K to put the new motor in. the 1500 was for no accessory swapping, and the 2K was if all the old accessories had to be put on the new motor. 500 for shipping seems kinda high...when I was researching, I found shipping to be between two and three hundred dollars, depending on where I looked.

BeelzeBob
11-07-04, 01:33 AM
Keep in mind that car dealers are independent businessmen. Cadillac does not "own" any dealers or dealerships. How they run their service departments and who they hire is up to them. Granted, Cadillac has a huge stake in how they represent the product...but it is as much a source of frustration to the factory as it is to the customers since there is no direct control over the dealers.

GM runs training schools all over the country and every new product has a school to train the technicians. But, with turnover and such it is always hard to maintain the desired level of expertise.


It is really frustrating to see a single dealer own several different dealerships covering all the major brands domestic and foreign....The dealer makes money regardless of which product is selling and he can steer the business to the brand that is netting the most profit. Look at the total profit that all Cadillac dealers combined make and it is far more profit cummulatively than GM makes for designing/developing/building all those same vehicles. The dealers are building new stores and getting rich and GM is struggling to break even. Something is wrong in the picture. There is no value added to the product at the dealership yet that part of the business is where all the profit is seems like.

CadiJeff
11-07-04, 01:49 AM
bbob from the sounds of it you should retire from Cadillac and set up a rebuild/aftermarket/custom/performance shop for northstars, I bet that there is a lot of money to be had there since the northstar has the stigma of a throw away you could get "dead" engines dirt cheep.

If it sounds good, need a good computer tech?LOL

haymaker
11-07-04, 02:01 AM
No more Cadillac’s.
Did you buy the 98 Eldo new or used?
If used, do you have all the service records?
Based on what you know, be it your personal knowledge or a previous owner’s service record, did the engine overheat all the way into limp home mode at 10,000-20,000 miles before the head gasket failure?

My engine’s head gaskets failed on both sides and I know the history of my N*.
I am just looking for the facts so I may understand why the gaskets failed.
Reliable data is very hard to come by and like politics appears to be polarized those protecting the N* and those angry with the N*. I, as you have lived on both sides of this conflict. I completed the timesert repair myself in my driveway and garage.

My 97 SLS is my third Cadillac and by far the best. I love the car!! But…. This is the first caddy I have owned that needed an after market kit to replace a head gasket. Fact is this is the first caddy I have needed to replace the head gasket. Yes the N* is easy to work on after it is removed but I didn’t buy the SLS to work on, I just wanted to drive this car and hopefully trust in the product.

I am not in protection or anger mode; I just want to know the facts.

BeelzeBob
11-07-04, 02:59 AM
No more Cadillac’s.
Did you buy the 98 Eldo new or used?
If used, do you have all the service records?
Based on what you know, be it your personal knowledge or a previous owner’s service record, did the engine overheat all the way into limp home mode at 10,000-20,000 miles before the head gasket failure?

My engine’s head gaskets failed on both sides and I know the history of my N*.
I am just looking for the facts so I may understand why the gaskets failed.
Reliable data is very hard to come by and like politics appears to be polarized those protecting the N* and those angry with the N*. I, as you have lived on both sides of this conflict. I completed the timesert repair myself in my driveway and garage.

My 97 SLS is my third Cadillac and by far the best. I love the car!! But…. This is the first caddy I have owned that needed an after market kit to replace a head gasket. Fact is this is the first caddy I have needed to replace the head gasket. Yes the N* is easy to work on after it is removed but I didn’t buy the SLS to work on, I just wanted to drive this car and hopefully trust in the product.

I am not in protection or anger mode; I just want to know the facts.


The timesert kit is really not an aftermarket kit. It is a GM developed service tool that is sold thru the normal KentMoore catalogue for GM service tools. When the Northstar was being developed the need for repairing the threads in the aluminum block was recognized. Even treated correctly it is not too unusual to strip a thread in an aluminum part occasionally. It is harder to repair highly stressed threads in aluminum than in a cast iron block so the repair had to be developed/tested/validated. The desire was for a solid thread insert rather than the slinky style like a helicoil. Early testing (years before the engine was released for sale) it was found that the conventional timeserts were too short so a special, longer timesert was developed in conjunction with Time Engineering so as to increase the insert thread engagement in the parent metal of the block on the OD of the insert. That is what led to the development of the special Northstar headbolt timesert kit. It wasn't an aftermarket initive but a GM initiative that paid for the original longer insert tooling and development. The kit is listed as a KentMoore GM special repair tool and Time markets the kit independently. Using it is no different than using any other special "J" tool called out in the service procedure.

As far as the insert kit being an "aftermarket" kit consider that many parts of the engine such as gaskets, fasteners, etc. are manufactured by independent "aftermarket" companies for GM anyway. The OEM head gaskets are not made by GM specifically but by an outside company. But classifying them as an aftermarket part is erroneous because the gaskets are spec'd by GM for the material and content and manufacturing process to be used...so they are far from the same generic gaskets that that particular supplier makes.

ellives
11-07-04, 07:47 AM
Keep in mind that car dealers are independent businessmen. Cadillac does not "own" any dealers or dealerships. How they run their service departments and who they hire is up to them. Granted, Cadillac has a huge stake in how they represent the product...but it is as much a source of frustration to the factory as it is to the customers since there is no direct control over the dealers.

GM runs training schools all over the country and every new product has a school to train the technicians. But, with turnover and such it is always hard to maintain the desired level of expertise.


It is really frustrating to see a single dealer own several different dealerships covering all the major brands domestic and foreign....The dealer makes money regardless of which product is selling and he can steer the business to the brand that is netting the most profit. Look at the total profit that all Cadillac dealers combined make and it is far more profit cummulatively than GM makes for designing/developing/building all those same vehicles. The dealers are building new stores and getting rich and GM is struggling to break even. Something is wrong in the picture. There is no value added to the product at the dealership yet that part of the business is where all the profit is seems like.

It *is* an interesting situation with the dealers. Back in the early 1990's the dealers were going out left and right... Now they've come back with a vengence.

In some ways they're experiencing the "Walmart" phenomena. If you are a manufacturer and you want to sell at Walmart (the other retailers are similar but Walmart is toughest) you will sign a contract that provides you with a certain amount of shelf space along with the rules of doing business. You will send your invoices in a certain way and follow the rules. If you break any rules (and they hope you will) they deduct "fees" from your invoices. Send a shipment late? They deduct. Send it in a manner that doesn't meet the shipping requirements like size of container or labeling, etc., they deduct. Deduct deduct deduct.

And after all this, if the product doesn't sell for any reason, Walmart has the right to simply return it. In many ways the manufacturerer owns the product actually on the shelf at the store because Walmart may not have paid for it while it sits there.

Of course the problem for Cadillac is they are competing with a multitude of other manufacturers. Again, their challenge is to generate the demand for the product at the consumer level. This demand will allow Cadillac to flex some muscle with the dealer because, as you point out, the dealers can flow the business to whereever they want to if they are a multi-brand dealer.

We all know the perception of dealers in the retail marketplace. (The word "scumbag" immediately comes to MY mind.) In fact, I avoid buying from dealers in any way I can. In the end it goes back to the buying public being savvy enough to be strong negotiators so they keep the dealers honest. In general though I don't think the public at large are a sophisticated bunch.

The only value add the dealer really provides to me is having a car I can test drive. In the end they don't even pay for THAT as they'll just sell the tester car to someone for a few bucks less but not less than it costs the dealer. In fact I've been disappointed that the concept of purchasing new cars online hasn't caught on effectively. There's plenty of sellers out there but they all play the same game: give us your info and we'll have someone contact you to "negotiate" the price of the product. To be a truly effective process the price should be available to me immediately online. Otherwise why not just simply pick up the phone and CALL the dealer?

Anybody know why we can't get online prices of new cars?

No More Cadillac's
11-07-04, 08:59 AM
Haymaker
I purchased the car BRAND NEW. It was ONLY serviced at SARANT Cadillac, Sarant claims to be the largest Cadillac dealer in New York state. The dealer is located around the corner from my work place so getting the car serviced was not an inconvenience. The oil was changed every 3000 miles. All reccomended service was performed, the coolant was changed at 40K and yes the dealer invoice shows the infamous tablets and dex coolant. The servicing of the car for normal maintenance cost a fortune and I always tipped the mechanic who worked on the car.
The car was always reliable, with no issues and drove like a dream. Until the coolant low message came on repeatedly over the course of several months which resulted in a diagnosis of a blown headgasket. The head gasket was really blown as I had a second and third opinion.
The only repair that Long Island NY Cadillac dealers would perform was a new engine about 10K without some signficant added expenses. I was not able to find an engine rebuilder, or any other reputable mechanic that would reliably repair the engine with a warranty longer than 90 days.
CADILLAC mechanics strongly suggested that an engine from a wreck would be the best alternative, however they were not willing to locate or install one. They advised me to be careful in buying a loose engine as they sell the bad engines with headgasket problems to wrecking yards. Finding a used Y engine was not an easy task, although ALL wrecking yards had many loose Northstars available. In time my mechanic was able to find a Y engine from a very recent wreck that was still in a car that appeared to be maintained and was worth buying. He paid a PREMIUM for the engine, as it was attached to the car. Total cost with tax installed $4300
I now have a meticuously garage kept 1998 eldo, 70k miles with a junk yard engine. I have driven it about two weeks and there appears to be no issues. I am bringing it to my mechanic for a "check up" sometime this week to ascertain the fluids ect are OK and nothing is leaking.

dkozloski
11-07-04, 02:17 PM
To comment on bbobynski and tool suppliers; I remember a GM ad years ago that said that over 80% of the fasteners and clips used in GM cars are supplied by companies that have five or fewer employees.

haymaker
11-07-04, 05:37 PM
Bbobynski.
Were any of these kits produced and supplied to GM dealers before or in conjunction with the introduction of the N*? GM and Time Engineering may have developed this kit just for the N* but I truly doubt they expected it to be used on more than one or two head bolt holes on any given engine and certainly not all twenty. I twice emailed Time Fastener Company. I wanted to know the total number of N* inserts shipped as of the date of the email. Below were his answers.



“Hello,
I will try to explain this is almost impossible to know. The insert we use to repair the Northstar is a M11x1.5x30mm Length.
This is not a special length we only make for the northstar. We sell it for hondas, acuras and other vehicles.
We have sold thousands of these inserts but our data records work in a way that it builds for each kit sold so the part number 11155
will only give an overall total. We get people ordering every day for this insert but it we don't know what applacation it might be used for.
Hope that clears things up a little more.
Best Regards”


“Hello again,
The initial order was placed by General Motors 4 years ago for there dealers around 7000 to repair any car that might have a problem
with any hole in the entire engine the head bolt kit was just one of many kits sold for the 4.0/ 4.6.
This is because GM did away with a "Engine Exchange Program" which is very costly. They now buy thread repair systems for there new
engines so the cars can be up and running in a short period of time. This is for all new motors.
We have sold approx 180 kits to individuals this year.
Best Regards,”

I was trying to find the percentage of N* head gasket failures. If you buy the car used what are the odds you may suffer from a head gasket failure? I have seen people on the forum guess at a percentage of failure but I wonder if they have any hard data. I thought if I knew the total inserts and total N* engines produced the math toward percentage should be easy. To date your guess is as good as mine because I don’t know the total inserts number or the total engines number. When I emailed Cadillac and asked for a total N* engine production number they said they did not, keep records on total N* engine production only the total cars per year and model. I have that email if you need to read it.

haymaker
11-07-04, 06:01 PM
No More Cadillac’s.

Thanks for the reply. I was just working a theory as to head gasket failure after limp-home mode. The way your head gasket failed would tend to disprove this theory but there is more than one way to blow a head gasket.

ellives
11-07-04, 06:34 PM
Haymaker
I purchased the car BRAND NEW. It was ONLY serviced at SARANT Cadillac, Sarant claims to be the largest Cadillac dealer in New York state. The dealer is located around the corner from my work place so getting the car serviced was not an inconvenience. The oil was changed every 3000 miles. All reccomended service was performed, the coolant was changed at 40K and yes the dealer invoice shows the infamous tablets and dex coolant. The servicing of the car for normal maintenance cost a fortune and I always tipped the mechanic who worked on the car.
The car was always reliable, with no issues and drove like a dream. Until the coolant low message came on repeatedly over the course of several months which resulted in a diagnosis of a blown headgasket. The head gasket was really blown as I had a second and third opinion.
The only repair that Long Island NY Cadillac dealers would perform was a new engine about 10K without some signficant added expenses. I was not able to find an engine rebuilder, or any other reputable mechanic that would reliably repair the engine with a warranty longer than 90 days.
CADILLAC mechanics strongly suggested that an engine from a wreck would be the best alternative, however they were not willing to locate or install one. They advised me to be careful in buying a loose engine as they sell the bad engines with headgasket problems to wrecking yards. Finding a used Y engine was not an easy task, although ALL wrecking yards had many loose Northstars available. In time my mechanic was able to find a Y engine from a very recent wreck that was still in a car that appeared to be maintained and was worth buying. He paid a PREMIUM for the engine, as it was attached to the car. Total cost with tax installed $4300
I now have a meticuously garage kept 1998 eldo, 70k miles with a junk yard engine. I have driven it about two weeks and there appears to be no issues. I am bringing it to my mechanic for a "check up" sometime this week to ascertain the fluids ect are OK and nothing is leaking.

It's time to get the corporate Cadillac people involved. There is simply no reason your engine should have failed with that mileage given the service you've had done. I would also suggest you or anyone else experiencing this kind of problem get ANY communication from the dealer in writing.

There is way too much casual stuff going on that prevents real facts from being established.

Of course at this point you've progressed so far it's doubtful you'll get any recourse but it would provide some satisfaction along the way.

Ells

No More Cadillac's
11-09-04, 07:05 AM
Thanks for your replies. My complaint was not that the head gasket failed as the car has been good to me. People and companies make mistakes and I can live with that. When Cadillac would not and could not fix the car that's what has me outraged. In this day and age many other brands of cars blow head gaskets and they are quite handily repaired.
Again I never expected to be driving an Eldorado with a junk yard engine. Whats worse is I can't even buy a new one.

ellives
11-09-04, 07:56 AM
Thanks for your replies. My complaint was not that the head gasket failed as the car has been good to me. People and companies make mistakes and I can live with that. When Cadillac would not and could not fix the car that's what has me outraged. In this day and age many other brands of cars blow head gaskets and they are quite handily repaired.
Again I never expected to be driving an Eldorado with a junk yard engine. Whats worse is I can't even buy a new one.

Can't buy a new one? Why not?

Dooman
11-09-04, 12:04 PM
I have paid the price of head gasket replacement. I only drove 1 mile to my house in the limp mode. It told me "idle Engine" My water pump was gushing and I used water from a pond to finish the trip, it soon went to "stop engine".. my 99 STS had 125k miles..

Spyder
11-10-04, 02:47 AM
a new motor costs around 3500...why couldn't you get a new one? That doesn't make sense. I spun a bearing in my 94 STS and put a new motor in my car, by myself...I wasn't idiot enough to pay two grand to have someone I don't know or trust to put it in. oh yes...by the way...if you'd have done it yourself, no one would know it was a "junk yard motor" and your resale value would still be just as high...you could trade it in and have another cadillac or a different car. What do you think my plans are, about two weeks before the warranty on this one expires? So yea, you should have bought a new motor if you were that concerned about it...or just done the moderately simple work yourself and no one would have ever known.

No More Cadillac's
11-10-04, 06:57 AM
Sorry for the confusion When I said i could not buy a new one I meant a new eldorado - as you know they are no longer made. I did look into new engines, the eldorado is a y model. I was not able to find one for $3500.
it was closer too $5000 without additional parts required tax and shipping.
Cadillac wanted $10 K for an engine

haymaker
11-10-04, 04:41 PM
Spyder. Where are you finding new N*s for $3500.00? I would think others on this forum would be interested in one at that price. I would have been a few months ago before I timeserted my N*.

chevyorange
11-10-04, 04:43 PM
Yeah, even with 88K on my odometer and the car running like a swiss watch, I'd like to know where the $3500 Northstars are at just in case!

Adam

No More Cadillac's
11-10-04, 05:10 PM
If anyone can answer a previous question, I am curious to know, how long does it take to properly fix a head gasket problem.
[list]
Time to remove engine
Time to drill 20 holes and insert time serts
Time to install Headgaskets
Time to Reinstall Engine
Refill Fluids Tune
Test Drive and check out

How many hours does this job take?

chuck jenkins
11-10-04, 07:02 PM
Search


Advanced Search
My Basket
Categories
Performance Engines
4cyl Engines
6 cyl Engines
Small Blocks
Big Blocks
Goodwrench Engines
4 cyl engines
6 cyl Engines
8 cyl Engines
Performance Parts
Cylinder Heads
Intake Manifolds
Corsa Exhaust
Accessories
Miscellaneous
New for 2004
Sale Items
Fuel Systems
Store Pages
Directory
What's New
My Account
My Wishlist
My Basket
Testimonials
Lattof Chevrolet

gmpartsdepot.com
GM Performance Parts - GM Crate Engines - GM Crate Motors - GM Accessories
<< Category 9 of 18 >> << Product 3 of 23 >>

1995 - 1999 Cadillac 4.6 (L37) New Goodwrench Engine # 12567313
Click here for: Warranty info, Installation Instructions


SKU: 12567313
RETAIL: $7,089.69
PRICE: $3,960.22

gmpartsdepot.com

haymaker
11-10-04, 08:28 PM
Chuck.
That is a good price. That beats the best price I had found. I wonder what city they ship from? I wonder if you could pick up the engine there and save the shipping? Guess you would have the sales tax if you picked it up at the shipping point.

haymaker
11-10-04, 09:53 PM
If anyone can answer a previous question, I am curious to know, how long does it take to properly fix a head gasket problem.
[list]
Time to remove engine
Time to drill 20 holes and insert time serts
Time to install Headgaskets
Time to Reinstall Engine
Refill Fluids Tune
Test Drive and check out

How many hours does this job take?
No More Cadillac’s.
As to the time needed to complete the head gasket (time-sert) repair, that’s a tuff question.
I think to get a fair and reasonable answer you would need to ask someone that has completed more than one or two of the these repairs. You may find someone on the forum that has completed five or ten of these repairs but I think the average maybe closer to between one and two engines for the ones that have completed the repair (a lot closer to one I think but who really knows).

The reason that it is difficult to receive a strait answer per total hours is in the removal and installation method. The engine can be removed from the top or the entire drive train and cradle can be dropped out of the bottom. I think the shop manual calls for the drive train to be removed by way of the bottom. Once the engine is removed the tear down repair and reassembly should be close to the same amount of time. Myself, I completed the repair on a grand total of one N* engine. I am willing to give everyone a good laugh and post the hours I used to complete the repair but it wouldn’t be close to the total hours that someone in a well equipped shop with a lift. Most of my time was spent removing and installing the engine. I pulled the engine out of the top for reasons I can explain in a later post.

I am curious to know how many on the forum have in deed personally completed the head gasket and time-sert repair

If you really want to know how long it took me to complete the repair let me know? If so, I’ll go out in the garage and dig out the fire suit to protect myself against the flames of ridicule and then post my total hours.

Ranger
11-10-04, 10:13 PM
Haymaker,
You have nothing to be a shamed of. That is probably the hardest and most time consuming job that can be done on these cars. Just having successfully completed it is something to be proud of. No need for a flame suit.

BeelzeBob
11-10-04, 10:31 PM
No More Cadillac’s.
If you really want to know how long it took me to complete the repair let me know? If so, I’ll go out in the garage and dig out the fire suit to protect myself against the flames of ridicule and then post my total hours.


I agree that to accomplish that as a DIY protects you forever from any flames.... LOL LOL

The real question is not how long it took you the first time....but how quick you could do it the next time...!!! With anything I do I usually can cut the time in half easily the next time....which never comes along....except for my dishwasher motor/pump....LOL LOL...I have cut that time down from 2 hours to 10 minutes the last time to R&R the motor/pump.

Spyder
11-11-04, 12:32 AM
oh hell, I don't remember, but I did find somewhere online that was selling 1 yr warranteed reman N* for right about 3500 if you had a core. Shipping was extra, so it ended up being about 4K for the delivery and return of your old one. I don't remember where it was...I ended up getting a used one with a 3 month unlimited mileage warranty with 80K miles for two grand, and put it in myself.

haymaker
11-11-04, 12:53 AM
oh hell, I don't remember, but I did find somewhere online that was selling 1 yr warranteed reman N* for right about 3500 if you had a core. Shipping was extra, so it ended up being about 4K for the delivery and return of your old one. I don't remember where it was...I ended up getting a used one with a 3 month unlimited mileage warranty with 80K miles for two grand, and put it in myself.
Spyder, I just thought you had found a company supplying N* at a good price, no flames. The world is hot enough…

dkozloski
11-11-04, 01:01 AM
bbobynski, I had the complete powertrain out of my 1962 Corvair Monza turbocharged Spyder 19 times before I quit counting. I could do it by myself in under 20 minutes. Reasons included squealing pilot bearing (many times), loose flywheel rivets(many times), slipping clutch(many times), starter ring gear, and a leaking main seal. But when it was right it would carry the front wheels in an honest to God wheelie all the way through first gear.

Spyder
11-11-04, 01:29 AM
yea yea, no prob...didn't see it as a flame anyways...was just trying to remember where I saw the thing at...if I run across it again anytime, I'll be sure to post it up for everyone...I've lost all my computer info since I found it, so my bookmarks are all gone :(

Pjs
11-11-04, 07:45 AM
The real question is not how long it took you the first time....but how quick you could do it the next time...!!! With anything I do I usually can cut the time in half easily the next time....which never comes along....except for my dishwasher motor/pump....LOL LOL...I have cut that time down from 2 hours to 10 minutes the last time to R&R the motor/pump.

LOL...This is exactly right. The first time I dropped the power train cradle and got the engine on a stand took me the better part of 3 days (In all honesty I did get rained out a lot) but when I had to do it all again one week later I got to the same point in 6 hrs. I think next time I can have it down to 2...(Next time???? Nooooooooo :eek: )

Spyder
11-11-04, 03:51 PM
There is currently a brand spanking new N*, supposedly still in the crate, on ebay. Going for $3500, $3800 buy it now. Seeeee?! They're out there for that price! :):):) hehe
Item number: 7933561296
Granted, he's an idiot when he talks about the engine and its applications...but, he sounds like he knows what he's talking about if the buyer didn't know anything about this motor...

No More Cadillac's
11-12-04, 12:34 PM
I would be very careful if you are considering the motor referenced above on ebay item # 7933561296. Although the price is right $3500 first bid or buy it now of $3800, the seller qoutes the shipping to be $625. The total does not include shipping insurance. The buyer claims "there is no warranty and will not accept returns on the motor as GM does not warranty products they don't make money on" In addition its a Y motor which I believe is unique for Eldorados.
There is no actual picture or pictures of the motor you would be buying rather a standard catalogue picture. Accordingly, one could be in for a surprise when viewing the actual motor.
In addition, the seller does not appear to be in this business as a result his feedback record does not help to make a decision.
Paying a few dollars more for an engine with a 5 year 50k warranty from a reputable source would seem to be a less risk and better financial situation.

CadiJeff
11-12-04, 12:55 PM
The "y" engine was not just for eldorados, it was used in any cadillac that had 275 hp, and has been discused it is virtualy identical to the "9" engine the only difference being the cam profile.

No More Cadillac's
11-13-04, 07:35 AM
So ypu can use it in any 95 thru 99

Spyder
11-13-04, 11:28 AM
It can go in any Eldorado coupe that isn't a ETC, or any SLS Seville, but no in the ETC or the STS. the STS and ETC had vin 9 engines.

bigred
11-13-04, 12:46 PM
You can use this engine in any 1995-99 N* Cadillac. This engine makes more torque than the "9" at lower rpm so with the 3.71 axles in the ETC & STS it should really accelerate nicer. Only problem, mild asthma above 115 mph. LOL

SHERIFF
11-13-04, 07:33 PM
I would be very careful if you are considering the motor referenced above on ebay item # 7933561296. ..... The buyer claims "there is no warranty and will not accept returns on the motor.... the seller does not appear to be in this business as a result his feedback record... The seller's eBaY feedback also indicates he recently bought parts for a PlayStation2 game. This would scare me away. Could be a kid trying to rip somebody off for a cool quick $3,800. :)

caddydaddy
11-13-04, 10:45 PM
Do you know how many adults play PS2 and other video games? I wouldn't jump to a conclusion that it's a kid based on just that!

chazglenn3
11-14-04, 01:35 AM
This thread is the first good use I have seen for this...

:deadhorse

Spyder
11-14-04, 05:46 AM
Yeaaaa...'twas a great thread until recently...sorry to say that I'm the one that led it on its current path. :( Sorry everyone...was just showing that el cheapo N* do exist, and if you read my original post, you'll realize that I was very open about the fact that I doubted the reliablity of the guy selling it and that they new next to nothing about the motor. G'night all...its three in the morning, I just got off work and I have to be at the other job in six hours. :)

No More Cadillac's
11-14-04, 08:18 AM
I am still interested in how long it takes to properly repair the headgaskets in a Northstar. Assume a professional completes the repair and had performed the work at least twice before
[list]
Hours to remove engine
Hours to Disassemble and Drill for timeserts
Hours to install timeserts and headgasket
hours to Reinstall engine
Add Fluids check out engine
Road test Final Checks

Spyder
11-14-04, 11:54 AM
Not really a great answer, buuuut... ...I could be wrong, but for some reason I think that I remember the book hours for headgasket replace was somewhere around 19 hours. That number stands out in my head for some reason, but I don't know if that includes removal and installation of the engine or if that is just after it is out.

No More Cadillac's
11-15-04, 06:07 PM
Could this be a 40 hour job if so it would be $4000 without parts

BeelzeBob
11-15-04, 09:22 PM
I honestly do not know the exact time allowed for the timesert repair but I would guess it to be in the 16 hour range for a knowlegeable mechanic with a hoist that has done the job before. This would allow 4 hours to drop the engine cradle out the bottom (actually pretty simple with a hoist and the correct tools), 8 hours to dissassemble and do the timeserts and reassemble and 4 hours to reinstall the engine into the car.

This might be a bit short for time but I would guess that a knowlegeable tech could do it this quickly.

No More Cadillac's
11-17-04, 06:27 PM
Thats faster than I thought So at $100 per hr it would be $1900 for 19 hrs plus parts. $500 for parts?

91TexasSeville
12-09-04, 10:17 AM
New patch to old thread...

First of all, I am not a long time Cadillac fan. I have owned only three in my 54 years and more than 40 car lifespan. My first car was a 1958 De Ville, the second a 1976 De Ville, purchased new while I was a GM employee, and lastly the third, a 1991 Seville that was abandon on my property. So what has this to do with Cadillac and NorthStar? Plenty!

I was employed by the Cadillac Motor Division of General Motors from 1968 to 1978. I am very familiar with the engineering, testing, and methods improvement facilities. I was part of the dedication involving thousands of hours of research contributed by countless engineers and technical staff to produce a world class product. That was the commitment of the team then, and now.

I assure you, and all those who are also misinformed, that no such plan was ever conceived to produce a throw away engine nor was there any engineered obsolescence.

Aluminum engine blocks have been successfully mass produced for decades before the NorthStar development ever began. Have you ever heard of the Tucker, Chevrolet Corvair, Chevrolet Vega? The Tucker engine was not a failure, the company was. The Corvair and Vega engines were not throw away engines, they were marvelous engineering feats. The Corvair Corsica and Cosworth Vega humbled many iron V8’s of the same time period. The same holds true for the NorthStar.

It is true that many early NorthStar engines suffered issues with pulled head bolts and leaks but that was primarily caused by ignorance, not bad engineering. If you don’t know about a subject, that lack of knowledge makes you ignorant, not stupid or daft. Over temperature and stress caused the early engine failures which can be traced back to the failure of the dealerships and owners not knowing how to properly maintain and service these engines. Unfortunately some of that ignorance still exists today, but more and better information is becoming the remedy.

The bottom line is that the NorthStar engine you had which developed an alleged head gasket (coolant) leak, was most likely caused very early (second year) near the beginning of ownership and did not become apparent until the 70k mile mark.

I am very surprised that not one of three Cadillac dealerships you queried was willing to offer you more than a 90 day warranty upon a GM authorized repair. The correct repair is clearly outlined, and every GM dealership has access to the procedure. The repair is not a hap-hazard “wait and see” repair, but an engineered fix to a serious problem allowing the customer to retain his original engine without the worry of the same problem to return. This is assuming the repaired engine will be properly maintained at the required intervals.

The mountains of spent NorthStar engines in salvage yards are of no real merit. There are plenty more blown engines by different manufacturers in those same salvage yards, all of which cratered due to abuse and or neglect.

The Cadillac 8-6-4 and the Ford VV carburetor are great ideas that worked phenomenally well in the lab, but were disasters out in the field. The original ideas are still used in production today but under different conditions and refinement. If you look you will find them both.

I am not suggesting that you should not be hurt or upset that your luxury investment just took a dump, but the first questions you should be asking is why and how to prevent it from happening again. GM does have the answer you are looking for, but I am astounded that you were able to contact so many blockheads in the repair process.

My hobby is restoring old Ford’s, not old Cadillac’s. Just because I am not dripping Cadillac wreaths as I walk does not mean I don’t like them. It only means that I don’t spend my time restoring them.

The Cadillac motor car always was and always will be the most refined piece of automotive engineering GM will produce. Hands down, the best they have to offer.