: Anyone that has pulled an N*? PLEASE! I need some advice.

05-10-13, 01:47 PM
My 94 N* project has been on hiatus for a while. Last Sept.
Since I had decided to remove the engine out the top and stud. I had already disconnected / un-bolted most of the stuff required as well as acquired most of the necessary tools and equipment.
When I finally got back to it this last week I faced of course what remained, the more difficult tasks, including but not limited to the “TORQUE CONVERTOR”.
Of course I tried the obvious; starter location and @ dust shield below and discovered that the bolts attaching the flex plate to the torque converter were neither a 17mm (to small) nor a 18mm (to big, wants to round off the bolts).
I know engine out the top is doable, my FSM outlines the procedure, but I can’t find any info on the bolt size at the T/C.
What do I do? Short of Grinding an undersize open wrench to fit, plus how do I torque?

05-10-13, 01:55 PM
U.S. SAE bolts ??? (7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8 ???)

05-10-13, 02:59 PM
I did it the hard way. From underneath. Using crescent wrench. Came off fine. Many have said going up top thru the starter hole is easy with u-joint socket. Using a socket and swivel joint won't work well cuz it is probably too long. Dig up a set of u-joint sockets. Are you using 6 point sockets? Funny how having a set of 6point and 12 point sockets in both inch and metric makes work easier.

05-10-13, 07:00 PM
Tried SAE…3/4in to big…11/16in to small!!!! What kinda deal is this?


My socket set is 6 point, but cant get a socket on the damn things. Also tried wobblies (swivel/u-joint) no way!! An offset would work but its back to size...17.5mm???

05-10-13, 08:08 PM
I did it last fall. Seems to me it was 18mm? Dad has every wrench known to man and I am pretty sure it was nothing special. Might even have used adjustable wrench.

05-10-13, 08:44 PM
I used 18mm through the starter hole.

Manic Mechanic
05-11-13, 08:33 AM
I did mine off and on through the access panel area located under/behind the leading exhaust manifold and engine mount. Pretty sure I used a six point 18mm impact socket, and possibly a swivel, but sure a specific combination of extension and my 1/2 drive ratchet that is about 14" long and has a flop over head joint. I didn't pull the intake and starter until the engine was out so I didn't realize it may have made it easier to access the nuts up there. It was a certified PITA and I started rounding off the first attempt until I came up with a better set-up. I also have the flywheel lock tool that installs on the bottom and I'm sure I used it.


05-11-13, 12:37 PM
I just got off the phone with a local (no disrespect intended) wrecking "yard rat" who gave me the lowdown on spliting N*/tans. It concurs excatly with post #7 with one differance; he used an impact driver and didnt need a F/W lock. BTW I cant even locate a F/W lock for this car!
so the solution?
18mm socket
several extentions
a wobbley
impact driver
left rear access up behind the exhaust
I'll perform the process and post my results.
Thanks all for your input.

05-11-13, 03:54 PM
There are plenty of flywheel locking tools on ebay for the Northstar, they run around $100, too high IMO.

Manic Mechanic
05-12-13, 01:50 AM
This seller has two like mine for $30 each.

Without the tool it's possible, let the socket jam against the edge of the block or lock flywheel with a punch in it's holes.


05-12-13, 10:03 AM
Success!! Impact wrench, a 18mm with a wobbly and a couple extentions. ZIP! BANG! DONE!
Thanks for the tips.
ps I'm gona make my own lock tool for install/torque, $30.00 is to steep IMO. Apiece of flat bar with a bend and a hole at one end and a chislel point on the other! A hundred bucks on e-bay! LOL! Give me a break!

05-12-13, 10:29 AM
Did you notice bell housing bump out for starter? Odd, no?

05-13-13, 01:17 PM
I did!
Maybe a design carryover from the 4.9 series?
I thought Caddy’s like most GM's, the starter is located on the right. The bump out you mention is located to the left! I guess if a starter were to go there it would be a convenient location. Made for great access to the FW bolts.
Well this week the beast is coming out!

05-15-13, 10:26 AM
We had 4 grand prixs. All gone. Never really looked at starter location. Think it was down low driver front area? I could see GM deciding to use the 4t80e trans in other cars. Seems odd the fwd V8 grand prixs never used it. Too darn heavy, bulky I suppose to fit.

05-26-13, 05:52 PM
Man! What’s with all the fuss over method of engine removal, out the top, or, out the bottom?
I just pulled my N* out the top and it was a piece of cake.
Now I really know what “Preferred method vs. Alternative method” means in the FSM.
Out the bottom = BIG BUCKS (labor, A/C service, Front end… opps! Scratch that… 4-point alignment and brake service not to mention what ever else might go south during the process.

Out the top = get the damn thing out and fix it.

Onward to pulling the heads!

06-03-13, 01:01 PM
I pulled the right head and discovered the engine hadn’t been torn down before. (The one owner, AZ car has 117K miles and has sat on blocks with bat removed & gas drained in a corner of my shop since 2007). There were some fluffy black oily deposits on the piston crowns that cleaned right up with a gentle brush. The bolts on the other hand…I don’t know what to think. 113017113025
A friend, whom is a machinist, has offered to help me with the block tapping and is also modifying a “power steering pump pulley removal tool” to fit the “left head cam mounted water pump drive pulley”. The alignment dowel part of the tool is too large a diameter to fit so he is turning it down and shorting it a mite. I’m anxious to pull the left head since it is the side my local Caddy dealership diagnosed with H/G issue.
I stocked a Felpro upper-end gasket set this weekend, Thanks O’RAP. I’m planning on ordering a set of head fasteners today from…..Wait for it........CCC!

06-04-13, 10:10 AM
Using timeserts? A timesert kit is 300 used. Sell it for 300 when ur done. Don't need no special tools from machinist friend to tap block correctly. Use the timesert kit

06-04-13, 12:51 PM
Using timeserts? A timesert kit is 300 used. Sell it for 300 when ur done. Don't need no special tools from machinist friend to tap block correctly. Use the timesert kit

Lets see.......
Buy used tools off ebay and resell them later for the same $300? Plus add the cost of serts? $$$ And still got to drill and tap? Don’t forget the set of new head bolts $$$
The only special tools I need are drill bits and taps for the specific fasteners I’ve chosen.
And wouldn’t I need them for the sert method anyway?
My machinist friend is providing his experience with alum. And is modifying my P/S pulley puller to fit the cam pulley. The only tool that he might custom fab would be an alignment fixture and I guarantee it wouldn’t cost anywhere near $300.
No timeserts for me thank you.

06-04-13, 03:06 PM
IIRC, the TimeSert procedure has been superseded by the BigSert procedure.

And there are 3 other fully acceptable alternatives out there right now - 4 if you want to get creative with ARP studs and others' inserts .......

06-05-13, 02:21 PM
The left head came off yesterday once I removed the pulley off the cam. BTW the modified puller worked great. (Thanks Greg)
Every bolt cracked loose except the two lower ones at #8. They lifted out easily, complete with alum threads. Further inspection reveled the head gasket had a hole in it just inside the water inlet port. It appears turbulence from the W/P pushing coolant into the head eroded the gasket material between block and cylinder. This allowed fluid to reach the bolts promoting corrosion thus IMO causing the thread failure which compromised the seal at the cylinder. Escaping super hot gasses under compression super heat the coolant to boil over temps, and fast. No white smoke, no consumption of coolant and no contamination of oil. The things normally associated with head gasket failure.
I don’t care what coolant you want to use, they all will promote rapid corrosion between dissimilar metals when exposed. And ya, excessive forces due to engine mounting bracket attached to the head may have contributed. Just attaching a lifting sling to that corner of the engine when I lifted it out of the car may have contributed to the pulled threads for all I know. But that hole worn through the gasket IMO is the culprit.
Anyone else seen this eroded gasket condition?