: Benefits of Northstar



Trench
10-12-04, 02:40 AM
I am not too knowledgeable on the Northstar engine. I am working on it, though.

What I as wondering is what exactly is so special about the Northstar? Don't get me wrong, I know it's an incredible engine. But, what I mean is why does it seem to be a performance engine which quite a few people have taken a rather large likening to and transplanted into a totally different vehicle (Such as the previously posted Delorean and Camaro )? What are its benefits over say an LS1?

Or would it pretty much just be a personal choice?

Thanks,

Dustin

eldorado1
10-12-04, 09:03 AM
Do the words "Quad Cam V8" mean anything to you? That's why I went Northstar. :thumbsup:

Ranger
10-12-04, 11:33 AM
6000-6500 RPM and 1 HP per cubic inch for starters.

oldgamer
10-12-04, 02:20 PM
6000-6500 RPM and 1 HP per cubic inch for starters.

High RPM engine never been a plus. In most cases it just means that this incredible power is available with really high RPM. The higher RPMs engines GENERALLY have shorter life than engines with lower RPM. And 1HP per cubic inch is a lot, but we have other engines around with even more HP per cub inch.
I think the Northstar is one of the best engines around because of it's really low maintenance, smoth work and reliability.

foo
10-12-04, 02:26 PM
the reason it's used for hot rods is because it's all aluminum which means it weighs less and it's really small and tightly configured and it can take a lot of stress (superchargers, turbos, etc.). Plus it's smooth and efficient..
Don't get me wrong though, if i could drop in a LS6 in my STS i'd be very happy with that too :> I think the northstar is in the caddy because it's smooth and 'quiet' and can get good gas mileage (although now newer technology permits the old ohv engines to get good mileage too). Why cadillac decided to go with FWD i'll never know, maybe because it gives more footroom in the front :) i'd be happy with dual exhaust and the transmission under the back seat hehe

dkozloski
10-12-04, 04:37 PM
6000-6500 RPM and 1HP/cu.in. sounds like a '59 Corvette. Now the standard is more like 14-16,000 RPM and 125+HP/Liter. A Northstar is a modern, conservative motor that is a step above the old cast iron lumps usually associated with U.S. luxury cars. It has good engineering but is by no means a bleeding edge, high-tech, state-of-the-art effort like F1 but it is miles ahead of the competition. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Night Wolf
10-12-04, 04:59 PM
keep in mind the NorthStar was designed and came out mass makret over 10 years ago....

... there are many reasons why people like it... it is basically a race-spec engine... do some searches, it was put thru alot of stress tests and such before being produced... but there is special care needed in maintaining it (often coolant changes needed on pre-Dexcool enignes) and when working, or rebuilding it, there is alot of special care that needs to be done....

... there is nothing wrong with a good old cast iron pushrod enigne though.... some of the most reliable enignes that could be beat on and never died were American cast iron pushrods.... it is just that with todays standards, they are low on power, such as my stock 425... but with some extra work, they can become a very ncie enigne... such as the s/c 3800 V6.... those can be built up very cheap to get some serious power...

Spyder
10-12-04, 05:07 PM
I'll second the "nothing wrong with a good old cast iron pushrod engine" comment...The 'ol Dodge 318 and slant sixes were friggin indestructible. I don't know how many of those I've tried to kill and could never get it done :):):)

Night Wolf
10-12-04, 05:12 PM
yeah, my father said he remembers a guy having a slant 6, he never changed the oil, ran it low on oil, never did any maintenace, and it still fine smooth, and fine for ever... he said there was no way to kill it...

in fact the only thing the older cast iron enignes lack to newer engines are hp/cu. in. but that is mostly done form newer technology, FI, DOHC etc... the old cast iron enignes didn't use much oil (smooth cylinder walls) ran smooth, trouble free etc...

peteski
10-13-04, 01:41 AM
yeah, my father said he remembers a guy having a slant 6, he never changed the oil, ran it low on oil, never did any maintenace, and it still fine smooth, and fine for ever... he said there was no way to kill it....

Heh, Heh! I've killed a slant 6 once. :lildevil:

I had a 73 Gold Duster junker car. I keep driving it even though the oil warning light kept flickering on. One day, the engine seized up going about 60MPH on the interstate.

It was a $200 car, and I junked it.

Peteski

Spyder
10-13-04, 04:00 AM
I juust did the same with my temp. car until I get the motor back in my caddy...'twas a '78 Olds diesel...tranny started slipping one day, drove it about a half a mile and it went BANG and slipped a whole lot more...put my foot to the floor and, creeping along at 4 or 5 mph, kicking a ton of dust in the air and spewing black smoke out the exhaust, probably turning 6000 rpm and sounding like a jetplane, we made it a hundred yards to the gasstation parking lot and just as we pulled in, it went BANG BANG bang bang rattle rattle rattle BANG and started dumping oil out the bottom and smoke out the top. We walked home and left it there, eh. Great fun in this small town. :)

Geno Castellano
10-14-04, 12:50 AM
And 1HP per cubic inch is a lot, but we have other engines around with even more HP per cub inch.

.


The Northstar engine makes over 1 HP per cubic inch and as far as I know there are over a thousand of them manufactured each day. This is NOT some low volume speciality engine that makes no low end torque and is manufactured in very low volumes. It's a passenger car engine that makes good torque and pulls around a 4500 pound luxury car with a fair amount of performance AND it gets good gas mileage, low emissions, etc.

As far as high revving engines not lasting long, many of the Northstars discussed here have over 150K to 200K on them. Not exactly a nickel rocket.

Geno Castellano
10-14-04, 12:56 AM
6000-6500 RPM and 1HP/cu.in. sounds like a '59 Corvette. Now the standard is more like 14-16,000 RPM and 125+HP/Liter. A Northstar is a modern, conservative motor that is a step above the old cast iron lumps usually associated with U.S. luxury cars. It has good engineering but is by no means a bleeding edge, high-tech, state-of-the-art effort like F1 but it is miles ahead of the competition. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.


No 59 Corvette ever made that kind of specific output. none, in fact, until the recent Z06 Corvette, no Corvette engine made over 1 HP per cubic inch - and the Z06 engine is a low volume specialty engine, not a high volume passenger car engine that is used in luxury sedans, limos, etcetera.

Name one passenger car engine that turns that kind of RPM. A few small displacement motorcycle engines will turn that hard. Apples to oranges.

F1 and racing engines have nothing to do with production engines. No one is manufacturing a passenger car engine that turns 14000 and makes 1.25 HP per cubic inch. Designing a racing engine is easy. It just has to make lots of HP, run at a specific RPM, never is cold started, doesn't have to make emissions, doesn't have to be produced on an assembly line, can cost an arm and a leg and it only has to run for 2 or 3 hours before an overhaul. Like I said. Easy compared to passenger car engines.

Even after 12 years in the market the Northstar still is very capable compared to other engines in passenger cars. And I bet it still has a few tricks up its sleeve...

Night Wolf
10-14-04, 01:02 AM
I juust did the same with my temp. car until I get the motor back in my caddy...'twas a '78 Olds diesel...tranny started slipping one day, drove it about a half a mile and it went BANG and slipped a whole lot more...put my foot to the floor and, creeping along at 4 or 5 mph, kicking a ton of dust in the air and spewing black smoke out the exhaust, probably turning 6000 rpm and sounding like a jetplane, we made it a hundred yards to the gasstation parking lot and just as we pulled in, it went BANG BANG bang bang rattle rattle rattle BANG and started dumping oil out the bottom and smoke out the top. We walked home and left it there, eh. Great fun in this small town. :)

:( :helpless:

poor car... as much as a POS car somethign could be... i could never bring myself to do something like that... those old big body GM diesels are rare too... even my Olds, when I first got it, for a couple weeks, I would be hard on it and such, then i grew to like it so much, I treat it just like one of my own :)... just dosn't get the same premium items (plugs, oil etc..) as the '93 :)

Spyder
10-14-04, 01:19 AM
I wish it hadn't happened...was planning on actually keeping the car around once i got the 94 STS back, if I could convince the girlfriend to let me have THREE parking spots instead of the two I have in the driveway now. The tranny went on me and I don't have the money to fix it, not after the new Northstar I had to buy. The car was great, had no complaints about it...it even had decent power for what everyone says they have. It had more get up and go than my 83 Eldo 4.1 ... It just wasn't meant to be, I guess. Tranny went and I had to let 'er go. :(

oldgamer
10-14-04, 11:24 AM
Such as BMW 745' engine 4.4L 245KW/6100 (I guess that around 332HP/6100), Lexus' V8 4.3L 300HP, V6 3.0L 220HP. May be these engine just a junk vs. Northstar, I don't know. What I try to say, that Northstar is really good engine, possible "piece of art" not just because of it's power, but other qualities.
Talking about high RPM engines, I made word "GENERALLY" capitalised. To make high rpm engine live longer cost a money. I believe everybody agrees with that. I didn't say Northstar has a short life. :)

dkozloski
10-14-04, 12:59 PM
Geno, the first American car to produce 1HP/cu.in. was the 1959 283 cu.in. Rochester fuel-injected Corvette at 290HP that would easily turn over 6500RPM. Chevrolet has had many other efforts since then; the 370HP 350cu.in LT-1 that goes back to the early 1970's, and the L-88 427 that was advertised at 425HP but Jim Hall claimed that the ones that were shipped to him from the special engine plant at Flint produced 750HP on the dyno out of the crate and were stock motors. That whirring sound you hear is Zora Arkus-Duntov spinning in his grave.

Geno Castellano
10-14-04, 01:03 PM
Geno, the first American car to produce 1HP/cu.in. was the 1959 283 cu.in. Rochester fuel-injected Corvette at 290HP that would easily turn over 6500RPM. Chevrolet has had many other efforts since then; the 370HP 350cu.in LT-1 that goes back to the early 1970's, and the L-88 427 that was advertised at 425HP but Jim Hall claimed that the ones that were shipped to him from the special engine plant at Flint produced 750HP on the dyno out of the crate and were stock motors. That whirring sound you hear is Zora Arkus-Duntov spinning in his grave.

As has been discussed many times those engines were rated per gross HP which gives a very inflated value compared to todays ratings per SAE J1349. An L88 is not a run of the mill production engine that idled, cooled and had durability for every day use and it is very unlikely that they made 750 HP in "stock" configuration.

dkozloski
10-14-04, 02:19 PM
Granted the rating system was different than now but the L-88 was available from the factory in stock Corvettes that were driven on the street. There were several here in Fairbanks, Alaska that were driven to work on a daily basis, sometimes in -40deg.F weather. The 750HP figure comes from an article written by Jim Hall that appeared in Car and Driver magazine. He stated that the only change he made to the engines before going racing was to change the piston pins to a design that had the bore tapered from both ends to make them stiffer. There are authorities that claim that the L-88 427 was the most dominant sports car racing engine in history. For that matter my LT-1 350 transplanted into my 1966 El Camino put it through the quarter mile in the 12sec bracket. Not bad for a truck. That weak old engine must have been putting out something. The engine cost me $880, fan to flywheel, from the local Chevrolet dealer. I did some blueprinting before installing it but nothing unusual. There were a lot of those old engines that had the output exaggerated every way possible but there were also a few that were understated to keep the insurance companies and the front office happy. I had a 350HP 348cu.in. 1960 El Camino and was the first generation big block Chevy that had the funny looking sculpted valve covers and the angle cut on the top of the cylinder block. That was when "super stocks" had to be stock. It would only do 102MPH in 14sec. flat in the quarter at 4100lbs so it must have been over rated. That engine had a hard lifter cam stock. The guy I sold it to managed to turn it tight enough that the flywheel exploded, took out the dashboard and windshield, and he almost lost his foot. I also had a 1970 Z-28 302 cu.in.Chevy engine with the "export cam kit" in the back seat of a 1966 Corvair using a Crown Corvair kit. Any body that doesn't think that engine put out 1HP/cu.in. by anybodies standards never drove one. That engine used the same exact part number carb as the L-88 and turned 7500RPM easily. I also bought that engine across the counter at the local Chevy dealer. I guess I just get defensive when it appears that the efforts of the older generation are being diminished. I greatly admire the Northstar engine but there really isn't that much of it other than the electronics that didn't exist prior to WWII. Bolts were being tightened to stretch in P&W radial engines back in the 1920's. 1930's straight 8 Mercedes had variable valve timing. Miller, Offenhauser, Stutz and others had multivalve OHC heads. A multitude of engines had roller cam followers. Northstar engineers could do well to go look at the Gaerte engines that were made for midget racers that use small block chevy cylinders sawed off the crankcase with a band saw, and a custom made barrel crankcase with the head bolts going clear through the bottom of the block and have nuts on both ends. The crankcase is bored end to end and the crank slides through with the main bearings in split clamps like a Mercury outboard. For that matter the model T Ford had a timer on the flywheel and a coil for each cylinder. There is nothing new under the sun. Pardon me for rambling on but one thought leads to another. I hope someone somewhere enjoys reading this as much as I enjoy writing it. LOL

CadiJeff
10-14-04, 05:44 PM
Geno what is the gross hp rating of the three currently produced northstars and the aurora engine? Also what is the gross hp rating of the s/c northstar concept engine?

dkozloski
10-14-04, 06:59 PM
How about some intuitive comparisons. How many street stock 4000lb.+ Cadillacs with Northstars do you know of that will routinely run the quarter mile in the low 14's to high 13's on street tires? I used Firestone Butylairs. They were the first tires with high hysteresis rubber but they wore out so quick you could feel the back end of the car settle. We did it every weekend in the 1960's. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. For example, in 1960 the best of the field was the 350HP 348cu.in. Chevy Impala and the 1960 360HP 360cu.in. Ford. Both weighed well over 4000 lbs. and both would run a sub 14 quarter. The big difference was that anyone could buy the Chevy and you had to have factory connections to get the Ford. The Plymouth Belvedere with a "Golden Commando" engine was in the running but the manual transmission option was about nonexistant with good reason. About a half dozen runs and it destructed. No matter what the engineers horsepower calculation, you go to the track and "run what you brung" as Smokey Yunick used to say. The guy with the most horsepower walks away with the trophy while the engineer runs behind waving his slide rule. Wait a minute, that's not nice. I apologize. Besides now they use calculators.

dkozloski
10-14-04, 07:31 PM
Zora Arkus-Duntov had an L-88 Corvette built with a prototype Turbo-Hydramatic transmission and fitted it with slick tires. He invited the automobile press corps to accompany him to the drag strip. For the entire day anybody that wanted to try could get in the thing, wind it up to 7000RPM in neutral, drop it into drive, and hang on. The car made dozens and dozens of 7000RPM WOT neutral starts and ALL the runs were in the 11's. That night the car was driven back to the shop. How many do you think your Northstar will survive? Don't discount the efforts of the oldtimers. Quality control now is miles ahead of what it used to be and there is no comparison as far as road handling but there were a lot of smart people back then that could really put some eyepopping machines together.

Geno Castellano
10-14-04, 08:18 PM
Geno what is the gross hp rating of the three currently produced northstars and the aurora engine? Also what is the gross hp rating of the s/c northstar concept engine?

I have no idea. No reason to determine it, really.

Geno Castellano
10-14-04, 08:29 PM
All these comparisons of old muscle car engines and such are kind of apples to oranges. The main allure of those old war horses is pure performance. They certainly could provide good performance...but...think for a minute. A 427 cu. in. engine running on the dragstrip compared to a 280 cu.in. Northstar??? The Northstar is actually very small displacement yet the only comparible performance levels are to older engines of 350 to 427 cu. in. and the Northstar drives good, idles like a kitten, gets good fuel economy, passes LEV emissions, lasts 150K-200K relatively easily and with some regularity. There is just no comparison to the modern engines and the old timers.

Roller followers were used back then to combat wear getting rid of the complexity of roller lifters was considered a major technilogical advance back then!! More durable materials for the lifters and cams doomed the roller lifter for 40 years.

Older engines also had multiple valves because the valve steels were poor and the valves could only be made so large. So 4 valves per cylinder were designed. When better valve steels came along the major breakthru was to go to a single large intake and exhaust valve....

Tell me an L88 idled smooth. There will always be an endless debate over which engines were "better" but given a dose of reality it is hard to compare any modern engine and it's myriad capabilities to older engines.

Back in the mid 60's the average family car Caprice had a "small" 283 that would not go very fast. Today, a modern FWD 4500 pound luxury car with a Northstar of only 280 cubic inches runs in the 14's with the air on and does all the things above.

CadiJeff
10-14-04, 08:37 PM
I was asking because if some people want to compare it to muscle car engines of the 50's-70's then they should be put on par w/ each other. A while back I came across a math formula that was supposed to convert and if I remember right it put the vin9 aroud 368hp, not bad for a 279 cu in motor!

dkozloski
10-14-04, 09:10 PM
Geno, you're right on all counts. I rented a DeVille when I went to the night race at Bristol in late August and it was a more than impressive ride. Smoothness and power were there in spades. My nephew built a 175MPH Camaro thirty years ago and he liked the engine noise of the Caddy as it went through the gears. To me it was a little ponderous but I'm used to my Red Line '04 CTS with the luxury sport package. Us old farts like to dream about the good old days but it's proper for someone to remind us of how it really was. LOL

dkozloski
10-14-04, 09:27 PM
A question; what does Cadillac intend the redline RPM to be on the CTS 3.6L V6? I'm sure I've seen 7200 RPM a couple of times in the lower gears in sport mode. My own personal best high winder was a '58 283 Chevy with an Iskendarian roller cam, a high rev kit, roller rockers, and a Latham axial flow supercharger with four Carter YH side draft carbs. We used a Fairbanks Automotive 4-spd HydraMatic. That thing would turn an honest 10,000 RPM measured with a Sun Super Tach.

cguthrie
10-14-04, 11:02 PM
Previous to my STS, one of my favorite cars was the family 68 Caprice, 327, and I can't recall if it was a 275 or 300HP.

It did rev very high for an engine of that day - how high, who knows - since the instrumentation consisted of only a speedo and fuel gauge.

The Caprice was a fairly light car, maybe even @3600lbs. I'm sure it did not deliver the 22mpg my heavier, and much more powerful per CU STS delivers. The brakes were horrible, the handling worse. No comment on the 1 finger steering with a couple inches of play.

When I first drove the STS, I literally called my older sister, and told her she needed to buy one also, since it reminded me of the Caprice, with the high reving engine, and the key in the dash! I still have fond memories of my dad flooring it over bridges, and the exhaust note.

Now the 327 did last til 180K when the timing chain failed in the worst part of DC. I'm hoping to pass 180K in the Cadillac.

In any event, I'm very pleased with the direction of Cadillac, their technology, and value.

The Northstar engine does rock, BTW!

Chris
99STS 98K