: Not happy with Federal Mogul's quality levels anymore. Specifically Fel-Pro.



97EldoCoupe
10-13-11, 08:34 AM
Has anyone else realized this lately? Fel-Pro's seal quality dropping?

Cylinder Head Gasket Sets (upper engine)-

Quality concerns:

-valve cover gaskets stretched or too long, difficult to install
-exhaust manifold gaskets used to be MLS like the factory gaskets, they moved to composite a while back

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

-I'm realizing the rubber bolt grommets for the camshaft covers are WAY too soft. The hardness of the rubber determines the clamping pressure on the valve cover (cam cover) gaskets. I'm talking about 93-99 Northstars-

I will be calling Federal Mogul with my complaints. This, to me, is unacceptable. The old GM grommets are a better rubber compound than new FelPro?

I will be trying GM's Grommets from the dealer and if the rubber compound still seems too soft, it's back to R&D to find a better solution. If I have to I'll be contracting someone to make grommets out of harder rubber.

Has anyone else noticed this? You'd think a company like Federal Mogul could do better than this. They made some of the OEM gaskets for General Motors and I'm sure GM would not have tolerated this.

The bolts themselves have torque limiters in them more/less- but if the grommets flatten out tightening to factory torque specs, something's very wrong.


(Sub, got your PM a while back, haven't responded. Still have them if you want one, please send me an email - info@northstarperformance.com)

dvo816
10-13-11, 05:07 PM
Hey Jake, Im taking the STS to get looked at on Friday and I should know exactly where the oil is coming from. Almost positive that its the rear-right corner of the rear cam cover. Ill try to take pictures but it's gonna be hard to do without removing a bunch of stuff. Call or text me when you get a chance. Thanks

P.S. Did you ever look at those doors? If not, no biggie.

98eldo32v
10-16-11, 06:06 AM
I had noticed the same things you stated on a head set for a Ford Taurus 3.0.
The valve cover gaskets were a bit too large, but they fit in the covers. The exhaust manifold gaskets were composite instead the mls factory ones. So, I cleaned up the factory exhaust gaskets (since they didn't leak) and resused them.

I guess it's all in the sake of saving a buck........ at the consumers expense.

dvo816
10-16-11, 01:37 PM
Heres the best picture I could get of the leak. Pic is from underneath the car.
http://i587.photobucket.com/albums/ss312/dvo816/20111014142538.jpg

It seems that its only the bolt/grommet on the rear passenger corner.

maeng9981
10-16-11, 02:13 PM
Looks like I was the one who bought the kit right before they changed the exhaust gasket to composite.

Different problem but I had issues with the cam cover gaskets: they included 2 cam cover gaskets, all for the rear one. So I had to reuse the front one, and I still have the extra.

97EldoCoupe
10-17-11, 05:02 PM
Well it looks like someone needs to step in and fix Fel-Pro's retardedness.

I have my CNC laser cutting shop looking into a short run of MLS gaskets. I need to talk to someone about new bolt grommets. I can't build engines with this B.S.

Devin please hang in there. A fix is coming.

dvo816
10-17-11, 05:34 PM
Ive always kept faith in you and N* Performance and I will continue to do so! :worship: Let me know if theres anything I can help with.

drewsdeville
10-17-11, 06:18 PM
Same problems here as well with the Felpro grommets on various engines.

97EldoCoupe
10-17-11, 07:27 PM
Dammit- you'd think that if you do everything by the book, using name-brand parts, you'd have a perfect product to offer people.

As of right now I will no longer sell Northstars. I have one engine to ship and that one's going to Texas. After that, that's it. I've developed a fix for the largest flaw the Northstar has and my job now, is to machine, pass produce, and market that product and ensure that people have a solid repair.

Why must the small boys always correct the "big boys" mistakes and screwups? I have not yet complained to Federal Mogul but I have that planned, and that's going to net me $0 in reimbursement.

The largest engine rebuilder in the USA, has given up on the Northstar remanufacturing operation because they were having a 28% failure rate. THESE GUYS ARE SUPPLYING GENERAL MOTORS!!!

I know the reasons why and I intend to come up with a solution. They told me that for once, these failures had nothing to do with head gasket sealing issues thanks to my studs.

I'm going to be doing some hard thinking on design improvements to take care of the last few little issues the Northstar has.

When, and ONLY when, I, or someone else, has developed lasting solutions to oil leaks, camshaft wear, oil consumption out of the norm, etc... AND- when I have engines ON THE SHELF, built, wrapped, and ready to ship- I may resume selling them. Too many headaches with pre-orders, leaks, etc. I know there's a solution and if that involves new castings, exploring new gasket design, etc., that's what it's going to be. I need to talk to some people from GM and I need to talk to them as soon as possible.

I've interviewed some potential receptionists and I believe I've found the one who will be taking calls soon. Tomorrow I'm going to start the ball rolling on Northstar re-design. A hell of an engine, just needs some refinement and updated fixes.

97EldoCoupe
10-17-11, 07:36 PM
Thank you Devin. That means a lot. :D

Submariner409
10-17-11, 08:17 PM
Your choice to supply studs, install kits and other necessary parts, and discontinue building engines, is a wise one.

(As Jake knows, I also build engines. It's a thankless job with, on today's economy, diminishing rewards. I too have quit.)

97EldoCoupe
10-17-11, 10:37 PM
Well Jim I believe you're right. The only two things that have worked out for me are the vehIcle repairs and stud kits. I've had too many hard falls in a row and even now that I'm up and running with the CNC running things are still very, very hard. That hole my Suppliers put me in, standing at $50k, is getting deeper by the day.

Edit:

I don`t know if my stubbornness is a curse or a blessing but something keeps making me push forward. Part of this, I`m aware of what it is.

I`m ticked off that everyone believes the Japanese dominate automotive and engineering technology. I`m also ticked off that such a wonderful design of an engine, hasn`t had it`s minor wrinkles ironed out. Northstars are GREAT engines. Heck, if that`s so hard to believe, drive a car with a good running Northstar for a week. Who wants to go back- (question mark key not working )

I can`t wait until I have the time to fix one of my own Cadillacs again and drive it. My 97 Eldo needs suspension, my 98 STS is totalled, my other 98 STS needs HG`s, my 97 ETC was in the process of getting the HG`s done but no time to complete.

One heck of an engine. They`re not getting proper credit, nor the aftermarket attention they so desperately need and deserve.

97EldoCoupe
10-18-11, 12:33 PM
Excel Polymers is going to be helping me develop a fix for the soft rubber gaskets. Got some new ones from GM this morning and they are improved, but not the hardness I'd like to see.

STOP USING FEL-PRO valve cover bolt grommets. That's my $.02 worth of advice. Use GM for these parts if at all possible.

EDIT: No longer going the rubber route. Well, yes and no.

Sometimes the answers are so simple they stare you right in the face. I have the solution, will post photos later if I get around to completing this. Right now priorities are looking after the customers I so desperately need to look after.

P.S., all those waiting for an engine from me, or for a vehicle repair from me, "IF" I have this fix completed and produced by the time I complete your engine and/or car, it will be included at no extra charge. If I don't have it completed, you will be getting the GM Grommets and NOT federal mogul's. They wouldn't even consider me for an account when I tried to apply, and now I'm kind of happy they refused my direct business.

EDIT #2: SpeedyGMan and TErnstres - Got everything I need now to finish those main studs, CNC STYLE. Look for an update from me within the next 48 hours please. I am so thankful for your patience.

vincentm
10-18-11, 01:58 PM
As of right now I will no longer sell Northstars. I have one engine to ship and that one's going to Texas. After that, that's it.


Ok, so i guess i'll be looking elsewhere for a replacement block..

97EldoCoupe
10-18-11, 04:16 PM
Vince email me your email address please.

vincentm
10-18-11, 04:25 PM
Vince email me your email address please.

Done, and in case it's:

vincent.magallon@gmail.com

maeng9981
10-18-11, 06:35 PM
One heck of an engine. They`re not getting proper credit, nor the aftermarket attention they so desperately need and deserve.
^^^^^:yeah:^^^^^

Speedygman
10-18-11, 08:25 PM
Sounds GREAT to me Jake.

ternstes
10-18-11, 09:43 PM
Jake, I cannot wait to see the main studs!

Douglass Harroun
11-21-11, 12:56 AM
I'd like to hear how many motor failures you have had on motors you built. If the big supplier you mention has 28% failures, you must be similar? I know of one of yours myself. No warranty either. Thanks
Doug

01ssreda4
11-27-11, 04:57 AM
Everything Fel-Pro I have used for LS1s has been fantastic quality. No complaints and I have bought a lot over the years.

97EldoCoupe
11-29-11, 07:00 PM
Doug I asked for simple proof way back when when you complained about 1 quart burned in 300 miles and you would not give me the info I asked for then. And I was to send you a replacement before you return that one, and fork over the cash for re/re all ahead of time. Without a shred of proof that yours was even burning oil. No reasonable proof given or co-operation= "sorry I can't help you." Basic rule of thumb no matter who you deal with or what you're dealing with. If in fact it was burning that much oil, and if reasonable proof and cooperation had been given AT THAT TIME you're damn right I'd owe you a replacement.

Fel-Pro is not up there with quality. I switched to Victor Reinz and have had no issues yet. Better products, better packaging....

Ranger
11-29-11, 11:02 PM
Let's not get into another finger pointing I said you said battle.

iflipcars
11-30-11, 01:32 AM
Fel-Pro is not up there with quality. I switched to Victor Reinz and have had no issues yet. Better products, better packaging....

Are you now installing Victor Reinz head gaskets also?

Douglass Harroun
12-01-11, 02:57 PM
Jake- Just wanted to know if your motor's failure percent rate is as "good" as the major re-builder you quoted?
Doug

97EldoCoupe
12-07-11, 05:57 PM
Ranger I have no intentions of another finger pointing battle. Unfortunately I feel compelled to respond to such nonsense but at the same time I know it's not worth my time. Doug; 100% of the engines that I've built that HAVE FAILED are failures. Read that carefully and I hope that answers your question. 100% of the engines I've built that work properly, have experienced no failures. I'm hoping that's typed in a language you understand. To anyone who wanted to ask that question without intent to defame; I'd happily give out that number.

Yes I am using Victor Reinz gaskets now. The hell with Fel-Pro if they cannot do any better for their customers than what they're doing. I'm tired of having head gaskets come bent up and valve cover gaskets that are stretched. Also two RH valve covers in one head set. Mistakes happen; but with them it's too common. They're a very large corporation and if they're not packaging properly; it's only because they don't want to. Victor Reinz; the gaskets are coming in good shape and packaged very well.

---------- Post added at 04:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:38 PM ----------

FYI- we are no longer building engines anyways. The future and fate of my little business are unknown at this point. I am working on another business venture that I may soon devote 100% of my time to. Maybe.A more managable; quieter business with less B.S and shorter hours. Allbeit I'd probably miss the routine 6am death-threat phone calls; I gave up a large portion of my life to Northstar Performance only to realize I'm in red ink up to my eyeballs three years later. Helped a lot of good people, had some fun; but this is reality. The only reason I'm still in business is because of stubbornness, hope, many good people and customers; and resistance to let people like Doug Harroun walk all over me and cough money up without seeing proof of failure.

I've long overstayed my welcome on the Cadillac Forums. I've lost the respect of a few members that I've considered close (yet long-distance) friends. My father tried to teach his stubborn boy something when he was a kid; "Sometimes you have to quit while you're ahead; you can't always make everything work, Son.".

89falcon
12-07-11, 06:01 PM
Yes I am using Victor Reinz gaskets now. The hell with Fel-Pro if they cannot do any better for their customers than what they're doing. I'm tired of having head gaskets come bent up and valve cover gaskets that are stretched. Also two RH valve covers in one head set. Mistakes happen; but with them it's too common. They're a very large corporation and if they're not packaging properly; it's only because they don't want to. Victor Reinz; the gaskets are coming in good shape and packaged very well.


Jake,

any experience with the MLS gaskets?

Douglass Harroun
12-13-11, 12:30 AM
So you have had engine failures. What percent of the ones you sent out the door? Any better than the Big supplier you mentioned?
Doug

Submariner409
12-13-11, 02:45 PM
:food-snacking::rimshot: Stop trolling, Douglass.


For a twist on Jake's observations as regards FelPro's current quality, I use a LOT of FelPro product in building marine application Olds 455's and some GM 454's. BUT I'll bet those 1970 Olds 455 gaskets have been punched and stored for a LONG time. Same for the run of 1970's GM 454's that were used in a slew of Mercruiser outdrive installations. I have absolutely no complaints and no failures, but then we're talking about 20+ years earlier in the engine business..........and quite a number of these installs now use either DEX-COOL or MB yellow coolant, but the trend among local watermen is to use the newer diesel-grade HD (purple) coolants. A large number of these installs use a fresh water (coolant) system with sea water heat exchanger (boat equivalent of a sea water cooled "radiator") - the LAST thing you want is to suffer a cooling system failure 35 miles offshore...................

JimmyH
12-13-11, 08:11 PM
So you have had engine failures. What percent of the ones you sent out the door? Any better than the Big supplier you mentioned?
Doug

Your question has already been answered. Let it go. Thanks.

Ranger
12-13-11, 10:43 PM
:closed: