: Can the Northstar be rebuilt?

02-25-05, 04:59 PM
I have read some claims that the Northstar engine can not be rebuilt. Is this true? Has anyone here rebuilt or had rebuilt their Northstar. I used the search engine for past info and came up with squat. I'm curious, I find it hard to believe that you could not rebuild this engine. How many are out there now? Would'nt there be some sort of economic incentive to come up with a way of rebuilding these engines? Would'nt Cadillac want to protect the reputation of their engine by suppling replacement parts? It does not make sense to me that they would make it practically impossible to rebuild this engine. That would only serve to piss-off alot of customers and turnoff any potential buyers. What gives?

02-25-05, 06:29 PM
I am sure you can. Both manuals that I have for the '98 are based on complete teardown and rebuild. There both very comprehensive and detailed. Your half way there if you have to ever replace the stater motor. Strangest place that I have ever seen a starter motor located.

02-25-05, 09:47 PM
It's rebuildable but the parts are expensive because no one is rebuilding them. We took 2 apart to do headgaskets. one at 100K, one at 120K and the cyl walls still had the crosshatch on both. The heads didn't need to be rebuilt! We just cleaned them (timeserted the block) and put it back together. With longevity like that there's not a lot of call for rebuild parts.

Part of the price of car parts is: Is anyone else making it? The parts that you can get from multiple suppliers are cheap. If you can only get them from 1 place they are usually much higher. With so few N*'s being rebuilt no one else makes the parts. Caddy will sell you rings and bearings but they are a lot more than 350 chevy parts!!!

Jack M
02-25-05, 10:39 PM
For what its worth, there are a number of Cadillac engine remanufacturers with internet web sites. I recall two of them that offer short or long block Northstars for $3,600 and up, through the 1995 version. You either ship your core/engine to them, or pay $500 for one of theirs.

Hope this helps.

02-25-05, 10:52 PM
Thanks. I realize the NS is not a Chevy 350 as far as after market parts were concerned but it really made me wonder about some claims I heard about how you could not rebuild this engine.

02-26-05, 12:09 AM
From what I have gathered, you cannot bore the block, meaing that you install new components but you cannot rebuild the engine because the definition of rebuild includes a new bore for the piston to travel in.You would think that because the engine has sleeves in it, new sleeves could be installed. With the computerized machinening, they probally can, and as the n/s ages, some savy person will develop a process. Right now, I think that the limiting factor is the price of scrap aluminum. I don't know the going price of scrap aluminum, but I bet a n/s block would be more than the worth the gas to haul it to the scrapyard.

02-27-05, 02:43 AM
Part of the problem is that the crank can only be micropolished, not ground - the nodular steel construction has problems with being ground, so a crank with deep scratches will only fail having been ground, and needs to be replaced.

02-27-05, 11:18 AM
It makes a huge difference if you are talking about reconditioning a worn engine or repairing a failed engine. The block can be rebored, but not a huge overbore, and oversize pistons and rings can be installed. That being said, It's not going to be worn that far unless you've been running it in a sand pit. The same goes for the crank. It's not going to be worn enough to require a regrind unless there has been a mishap. There are a lot of mechanics that see a modern complicated engine with a lot of parts and features that they don't understand that will bad mouth it because they are afraid of it. On the other hand because it has so many parts and features it must be carefully rebuilt by an adroit and knowledgable person. This equals expense.

02-27-05, 09:03 PM
That's OK. You have to pay the hours and expertice required to do it right. Or learn to do it yourself. Which is not a realistic option for the most of us due to many reasons. Though I am sure the majority of us would like to be able to have the time and resources to undertake a most challenging project.

02-27-05, 09:39 PM
The way for an advanced amateur to get a good job is to farm out the work that he can't do. Take your engine to someone who can clean and inspect all the parts for you without damaging anything. Let a machine shop hone the cylinders and maybe even assemble the bottom end for you. Do a lot of research, talk to a lot of people, take it all with a grain of salt. Maybe an experienced workman will let you watch him work. I had a man intern with me that offered to work for nothing just so he could get the experience of working in the best equipped shop within fifteen hundred miles or more. The man had very little experience but he had a real savvy about all things mechanical and was one of the best hands I ever had work for me. Realize your limitations and stay within them. If you screw up nobody is dead; you're just out a lot of time and maybe money. Remember experience is what you have left after you have fouled everything up. When you're all through you can answer the question about rebuilding a North* with, "Not just yes but, Hell Yes!!".

02-28-05, 11:02 PM
my N* was timeserts used in both head bolts and on the crank main cap bolts

but my idea was to use STUDS on the next motor as I have 3 more to do

has anyone else used studs in their N*??

02-28-05, 11:12 PM
The problem with studs would be the engineering involved with getting the right material and heat treatment as well as the proper fit and finish so you would know how to tighten them and recreate the original clamping force.

02-28-05, 11:38 PM
I think a company that produces studs could give you the proper torque specs. Have you talked to ARP? Someone asked about studs before but i don't rmember anything coming of it.