: Northstar Timing Chain Re-Install & Head Gasket Re-install Feedback........



97BlueDeville
04-01-05, 07:53 AM
Hey guys..



I'm almost done with the Timesert / Head Gasket repair on my 97' N-Star.. I did a search, however I only came across a post from Lawrence regarding the timing chain and how to set it up to reinstall.. Anyone have a diagram in detail on how to do this?? I now know to put the Intake and Exhaust dots on the cams straight up, or straight up from the Heads?? Correct?? Since the heads sit at a 45deg angle, I put the Intake and Exhaust cam marks at that same angle correct? The Crank I'm sure needs to be Dot Up correct? Please let me know step by step how to get this bad boy correct..

Also.. The motor has 147k on her, are these timing chains good for 250k miles plus?? Do they break??

The Northstar motor, for the most part I'm very impressed with as far as showing very little wear. Cams look great, springs, heads, timing chains, and the cylinders have the nice cross hash marks still.. While doing the Timesert Job I discovered that aprox 12 of the 20 threads for the head bolts were in bad/poor shape, and would have no way been able to torque down properly with out repairing them. The Timesert job was very much needed here!! Great kit by the way, easy to use, did all 20 bolts and took about 7 to 8 hours to complete the drilling/timesert install.. The Motor saw 260 Deg F 3 times, and did a limp home mode once about 2 miles, so naturally I got the heads milled to see if they were warped. They were only off by 2 to 3/1000ths of an inch. Not bad!! Milled them anyway..

All in All I would say that this is a very extensive job... Never quite did anything like it before. I have re-built LS1 motors and the Northstar motor is much more labor intensive.. Of course the 1st time you do anything, it's harder. I've gotten quite good on my 700RWHP Blown LS1 motor, taking that apart..

1 through 10, 10 being extremely Hard/Time consuming. Working on a motor is not really hard if you have the right tools, just time consuming.

Scaling the Head Gasket Change job I would give it a.

"7" For dropping the Northstar motor and the extensive wiring harness together. F-body motors I give a 3 or 4.

"5" For taking the motor apart to get to the block.

"3" For the Timesert Job Itself. Easy to do, just time consuming.

"3" For putting the heads back on and Re-Torqueing them down.

"7" So far for putting it all back together..

"7" I'm guessing to put everything back into the car, motor, wiring everything..


"8" Time Consuming, checking things over!!


Total Score... About a 6 in degree of difficulty, 8 in the time consuming area....


Do I want to do this again, ummm nope!!.. I would not look forward to it......


Clint

Katshot
04-01-05, 08:50 AM
Clint,
I have all the diagrams but no time to scan and email them this morning. If nobody gets to it for you today, I'll try to get them for you by tomorrow morning. Hope that's good enough for you. Sorry, but I was out of the office yesterday and I'm leaving at noon today to go to the NY auto show so my morning is going to be chaotic at best.

97BlueDeville
04-01-05, 01:55 PM
Thank you...

Anyone?? I'm leaving my house soon to go up to the Shop and continue working on the car. Need to have her done by this weekend. Anyone have any info available now? BBob.. ??

BeelzeBob
04-01-05, 02:54 PM
Put the crank sprocket mark at 12:00 and the mark on the intermediate sprocket at 6:00, install the short chain and slide the sprockets onto the crank/intermediate shaft simultaneously. You will probably need to turn the crank slightly to allow the crank sprocket to slide onto the key. When you have the intermediate sprocket/chain/crank sprocket correctly installed and timed the timing marks should be directly opposite each other for that chain system.

Put the timing pins on the cams at 12:00 RELATIVE TO THE CAM COVER SEALING SURFACE of the heads. Yes, since the cam covers are sitting on a 45 degree angle the timing pins on the cams will be at 45 degrees to the ground...but...just the cam cover sealing surface as a reference and put the pins at 12:00. The sprockets and chains for each side go on next. You'll have to put the chains over the sprockets as you slide them on as there is not much slack. When finished, the chains and sprockets for each side should be on, the tensioners set, slack on the correct, slack side(the side with the movable guide) and all the cam timing marks should be at 12:00 relative to the cam cover surface.

Make sure you retract all the tensioners by working the little link on the tensioner and pressing the plunger in past the mechanical rachet. Stick a golf tee into the hole in the link to keep the tensioner retracted while bolting it in place. When finished, pull the golf tee/grenade pin and the tensioner will pop out and take up the slack.

The chains and sprockets are good for at least 300K so I wouldn't worry about them at all. The guides and tensioner shoes will last likewise. They will "mark" with two grooves from the side plate wear almost immediately and then stay that way forever. Make sure all the tensioner bolts and guide pivot bolts are tight and then move the moveable guides to make sure that they move/pivot freely. If you mix up the bolts and put a non-shoulder bolt in the pivot of the guides they willo freeze and screw up. Make sure that they move freely after everything is tight.

Be VERY carefull if the heads are on and you have to turn the crank and/or be VERY carefull turning a cam if the crank is not turning. It is very easy to bang a valve against a piston if the cam timing chains are not installed and either is turned independently so be very gentle if you have to turn the crank or cams to get them in time. The best thing is to have the crank at #1 TDC and pretime the cams on the heads before you install the heads to prevent bending a valve.

When the timing drive is installed correctly all the marks will line up as described. If you then turn the crank it will take 7 revolutions of the crank before the intermediate shaft sprocket marks line up again. This is as designed and is due to the uneven drive ratio of the system...done to prevent harmonics and noise...that is why the chains run 300K. If you turn the crank 7 times the intermediate sprocket will line up but the cams will be 180 off. Normal. Turn the crank 7 more times and everything will line back up again. It is easy to turn the engine 1 or 2 revolutions and then nothing lines up and think that the timing is off. It isn't. Just keep turning to accumulate 14 revolutions and every thing is back "in time". If you turn it 14 times and it never lines up you have a problem, though....LOL LOL.

Good luck. I agree with your ratings pretty much. The first time thru all of it is a PIA...as are most things. The next time it will go three times as fast.

97BlueDeville
04-02-05, 09:24 AM
BBob....

Thank you very much.. Your info was invaluable!! and Thank you for taking your time to type it up... your info worked like a charm!! I would have never figured it out otherwise..

Well the motor is up and in the car. It was task to get her in there, that's for sure. The main problem was the passenger side CV joint popped out of place from the weight of the strut hanging.. Had to take the rubber boot off to push it back in, only to discover that one of the bearings is slightly damaged or dented due to the fact I was trying to push the CV joint back in. The large bearing would not allow the small inner bearings to spin around. While I was fixing the bearing, one of the little needle bearings popped out and I could not find it.. I re-installed it the CV joint without the tiny needle bearing. I'm a little scared by doing this.. I think I will be alright since it only adjusts for when the wheel will travel up and down while driving. Or am I wrong.. I really down want to go buy another CV joint.. Damn front wheel drive cars... Also could not get the metal clamp that goes on the outside of the rubber boot, back on as I donít have the special tool to re-install it. Guess I need to buy that as well. Hope Napa has one.. Any additional info would be great...

Thank you!!

Clint

CooL
04-02-05, 10:08 AM
Hi Clint!

I do the same job with my N* -93. I had low pressure on cylinder 2, losing coolant and the engine run hot, all indicated to a blown headgasket but when I lift the head I could't see any damage on the gasket!!! I also mention that all my 20 threads was in very god shape and the bolts sat very tight. Did you notice any damage on the headgaskets when you where lifting the heads from the block ?

Pjs
04-02-05, 10:42 AM
[QUOTE
The main problem was the passenger side CV joint popped out of place from the weight of the strut hanging.. Had to take the rubber boot off to push it back in, only to discover that one of the bearings is slightly damaged or dented due to the fact I was trying to push the CV joint back in. The large bearing would not allow the small inner bearings to spin around. While I was fixing the bearing, one of the little needle bearings popped out and I could not find it..... Also could not get the metal clamp that goes on the outside of the rubber boot, back on as I don’t have the special tool to re-install it. Guess I need to buy that as well. Hope Napa has one.. Any additional info would be great...

Thank you!!

Clint[/QUOTE]

I had the same problem...passenger side liked to pop out. I couldn't get a metal clamp tight enough to stay on so I bought a couple medium sized screw hose clamps and put them together, then cranked it down...it's been a few months and it's still in place

haymaker
04-02-05, 12:16 PM
Hi Clint!

I do the same job with my N* -93. I had low pressure on cylinder 2, losing coolant and the engine run hot, all indicated to a blown headgasket but when I lift the head I could't see any damage on the gasket!!! I also mention that all my 20 threads was in very god shape and the bolts sat very tight. Did you notice any damage on the headgaskets when you where lifting the heads from the block ?
Cool, take a few good close-up pictures of both sides of the head gasketís fire-ring around the #2 cylinder location and post them. Make sure you have good lighting for the pictures. I would be interested in viewing a picture of the old head gasket(s). You said your block threads were good. Were the head bolt cavities in the block dry (no oil or coolant)?
BTW did you run a compression test or a cylinder leak-down test? You said your N* overheated, did it ever go into limp-home mode?

CooL
04-02-05, 01:14 PM
Himarker, I shall post some good picture over the gasket's and I take a picture off the bolts to! I only did a compression test but I will do a complete cylinder leak-down test just to be sure. I shall also do a crack-indicate test on the cylinderheads. The cavities in the block was dry from both oil and coolant! I don't no what state I drove home but computer told me that it shut down the AC and I shall shut down the engine and I did so after 10-20 sec!! I come back with some good picture ASAP!

97BlueDeville
04-03-05, 05:59 AM
PJS...

Thank you for the info... I'll put a hose clamp on her, but I'm taking it to a dealer so a proper clamp can be put on.. I hope I dont get any abnormal vibration from the missing small bearing, I don't think I will...

Cool... My head gasket was in poor shape! I could see where the pressure from the cylinder was escaping into the water jacket. Also I see little bits of rust on some of the steel ring on a couple of cylinders, which is a sign that this has been a problem for a while that got worse.. Over the last few months my car did need extra coolant and my low coolant light did come on, a few times before the engine could not hold coolant at all.. Also, my engine would hesatate upon startup then clear itself up after 20 seconds or so, another sign I had coolant in the cylinders. And now come to think of it I sometimes could smell a strange coolant-like smell from my exhaust pipes when I would first fire up the motor..

Clint

CooL
04-03-05, 02:42 PM
haymaker, I post some picture of gaskets and all 20 bolts. Hope they tell you something.

clint, I had the same problem with my car exept that I did not smell any strange from my exhaust but sometimes the came out lots of white smoke from the pipes.

haymaker
04-03-05, 10:55 PM
Clint, I agree with a lot of your assessment of the N* time-sert and head gasket repair.
To me the worst thing about the job being the near total lack of working room in the engine bay.
After the engine is on the stand itís not bad to work on and in MHO a nice piece of engineering. I agree that the N* engineís valve train is more complicated than that of a small block chevy and I have never had a small block chevy that I couldnít replace the head gaskets while the engine was still in the car or truck much less have any concerns about reinstalling the head bolts. I also thought the time-sert job was strait forward but time consuming. What head bolt torque torque-angle values did you use during reassembly?
BTW which cylinder(s) was (were) leaking on your engine?

haymaker
04-04-05, 12:50 AM
Cool, viewing the pictures as presented online itís difficult to pinpoint the exact area of the gasket that was leaking. Looking at the underside of the gasket in the second picture from the left I see what appears to be the scorching and separating of the soft gasket material from the metal core. The gaskets that came off my í97 SLS had the same type of gasket scorching and separation around the cylinders that were leaking. It looks as though the hot combustion chamber gases leak past the head gasket into the water jacket around the problem cylinder and cook the head gasket in that area. These hot gases must cool enough as they travel on to the adjacent cylinders as the scorching and separation of the gasket material stops.
So how long had the engine been overheating and had the computer only gone into limp-home mode the one time before you replaced the head gaskets? I am just trying to understand why some N*s blow the head gasket, overheat, cause oil and coolant contamination of the head bolt cavities then the destruction of the female threads in the block during disassembly and some (like yours) donít? Did you notice any of your head bolts being somewhat looser than the others during their removal? I mean you get a feel for the amount of pressure required on the breaker bar to get that first little bit of rotation and if one of the bolts require much less pressure than the others you notice it right away. I had one loose head bolt per each cylinder head. I donít see any female threads stuck on your old head bolts.
BTW thanks for posting the pictures.

BeelzeBob
04-04-05, 01:38 PM
Knock. Knock.

Who's there...???

Emersome....

Emersome who..???

Emersome used head gaskets alright. Used UP.

CooL
04-04-05, 02:07 PM
haymaker, the engine have got hot several times, most time I have stop the car and cool it down, the temp was over 240F sometimes, last time it went hot it was over 250F,maybe for 3 - 5 minutes. The computer told that I should shut off the engine. The engine is still in parts, I'm wating for some gaskets to arrive. I could not notice that any bolts was loose, I have to use the same amount of pressure on every bolt. Do you think I need to do the Time-sert job, even with bolts(I buy new) and threads in condition like mine?

97BlueDeville
04-04-05, 05:13 PM
NORTHSTAR RUNNING AGAIN...

NO COOLANT PROBLEMS!!!

YAAA....

But at what cost.. My Back is absolutely KILLING ME... I'm 6'7" anyway so it makes it that much harder.. This job is not for the timid.... Motor is running very well, after initial startup the motor did clack for a while due to lack of oil in the valve train.. Yes I primed the motor for a while.. BBob that you again for all your Help.... Got the motor done last night at 2AM.. My heart skipped a beat a few times last night as I was putting her back together. Forgot to bolt in 1 13mm bolt that goes on the water pump assembly, took forever to find it not to mention very hard to get to with the wire harness in the way.. Once that was done the engine held coolant very well.. No leaks.. Oil no Leaks.. However I am running 5w30 motor oil and I need to step back up to 10w30 or 15w40 like I have been running.. Since the motor does have 150k on it does burn a little oil. Also my low oil pressure idiot light flashes a little when I'm sitting at a light.. I'm not surprised, with these miles and running thin oil I'm sure the oil pressure is low at idle or drive sitting at a light.. I'll just use thinker oil.. All in all I would rather go though childbirth before doing this job again. But the motor is running strong and does not blow coolant over the emergency evac hose from the tank.. Woo Hoo..

Clint


COOL.. Are you sure you didn't take pics of my gasket.. Mine are almost identicle to yours.. In poor shape!!!

haymaker
04-04-05, 05:40 PM
haymaker, the engine have got hot several times, most time I have stop the car and cool it down, the temp was over 240F sometimes, last time it went hot it was over 250F,maybe for 3 - 5 minutes. The computer told that I should shut off the engine. The engine is still in parts, I'm wating for some gaskets to arrive. I could not notice that any bolts was loose, I have to use the same amount of pressure on every bolt. Do you think I need to do the Time-sert job, even with bolts(I buy new) and threads in condition like mine?
Cool, if the overheating engine goes into limp-home mode you know it. The chimes and alarms go off, then the engine starts running on 4 cylinders rather than the full 8, doesnít make much power and shakes like a paint mixer. The consensus on the forum is if the old head bolts come out the time-serts go in. Given the age of the engine, the fact the engine has overheated, the head gasket has blown, the difficulty and amount of time needed to replace the head gaskets IMHO the time-serts should be installed.

haymaker
04-04-05, 06:07 PM
Clint, glad you got her done. I agree it is a pain in the back along with a few other parts of the body. Sorry I didnít read your thread earlier, as I do have pictures of my timing chains, sprockets and timing marks set at TDC. I would have posted them but by the time I saw your thread bbob already had you taken care of. My engine was out in the open so before removing the cylinder heads from the block I aligned all the timing marks then drilled and bolted a piece of angle-iron from the flexplate to the back of the engineís lower bell-housing bolts. This locked the crankshaft and lower timing gears in place, then at reassembly I only need to be concerned with aligning the marks on the camshaft sprockets. The crankshaft being locked in place was also very helpful during the tightening of the harmonic balancerís retaining bolt. Good luck.

zonie77
04-04-05, 11:42 PM
97 & Haymaker, I'm curious, did you pull the engine out the top or drop the cradle?

haymaker
04-05-05, 12:04 AM
97 & Haymaker, I'm curious, did you pull the engine out the top or drop the cradle?
I pulled my out the top.

97BlueDeville
04-05-05, 12:29 AM
Dropped the engine and Trans Together...

Clint

97BlueDeville
04-09-05, 10:11 PM
TTT..

6 Days after the install and the car is running fine.. Still need to change the oil to a little thicker stuff. Thank you Timesert and Bbob and others.. It's good to have a running car again.. Now to finish my weekend gas hog, spinning sideways at 70mph SS!! ;)

Clint

Pdip
05-20-05, 08:50 PM
i am in the middle of the same thing but did not pull the engine the back came out in 10 hrs check out my gasket.

cbellpeanut
05-21-05, 12:36 AM
hey did u use locktite?if so what type and how much

Pdip
05-25-05, 08:46 PM
The new head bolts have stuff on them should i use locktie? i am also doing timeserts.

Ranger
05-25-05, 10:00 PM
No. That stuff is similar to locktite. Just use them as they come.

Pdip
05-27-05, 12:17 AM
Ranger thanks

zonie77
05-27-05, 02:20 AM
You don't use loctite on the head bolts, only on the timesert inserts when you install them. Just leave the factory sealant on the new bolts.

Pdip
06-02-05, 09:37 PM
Thanks for the help my 82,000 mile 99 sts is on the road again and doing just fine. One thing I think is worth adding, a bad surge tank cap will also show false boiling for $6.00 its worth replacing. :thumbsup:

Pdip
04-03-06, 08:00 PM
105,000 miles and 9 months runs great. I have not touched a thing and the engin runs lik a champ. Timeserts:thumbsup:

mjd
04-04-06, 12:52 AM
thanks
this is good information

Pdip
02-21-07, 07:19 PM
126,000 mile and still holding

1starrider
02-21-08, 09:41 PM
hi all
im new here and i trying the un thinkable i m putting new head gaskets on a 98 diville and ne some info and pics
what is the head bolt torque values also torque padern aslo timing info ?

thanks to all

Submariner409
02-21-08, 11:02 PM
1starr....Take a look at the thread 97 N* head gasket install.... near here. Then do searches in the Forums for head gaskets and similar,and be prepared to read a lot!

There are thoudands of words and items about your endeavour......already in these pages.

dwillv
11-26-11, 11:05 PM
could u post the diagrams would be most appreciated along with torque specs

89falcon
11-27-11, 01:09 AM
could u post the diagrams would be most appreciated along with torque specs

That's the problem.....there really isn't a "torque" spec for the headbolts.....you start at a torque, then turn them an additional number of degrees.

go here:
http://www.helminc.com/helm/Result.asp?Style=helm&Mfg=GMC&Make=CAD&Model=DEVI&Year=1999&Category=1&Keyword=&Module=&selected%5Fmedia=

Buy a factory service manual....expensive? Yes....$135.....but has saved me 10-20 times that amount.

Submariner409
11-27-11, 11:01 AM
could u post the diagrams would be most appreciated along with torque specs

dwillv, Update your profile with your car, model, engine, mileage. It all makes a difference in advice...............

There's a LOT more to the Northstar timing chains/cam timing than meets the eye - you'll need reference materials. Look at www.alldatadiy.com

For starters, if your engine is a 2000-2004, click on my username, open my profile. There are two albums in there with many pictures and diagrams of your engine and parts - chains, timing, oil pump, etc., etc.

dwillv
11-27-11, 09:08 PM
sorry everybody on here talking about the same engine 32 valve northstar mine is a 2001 deville. so far none opf u impress me n nowing what yall talking about

dwillv
11-27-11, 09:30 PM
what is the torque start at the how many degrees mine is a2001 northswtar

ternstes
11-27-11, 09:53 PM
22ftlb + 60 deg + 60 deg + 60 deg last time I checked. I use Jake's studs for my northstar.

89falcon
11-28-11, 02:17 AM
sorry everybody on here talking about the same engine 32 valve northstar mine is a 2001 deville. so far none opf u impress me n nowing what yall talking about

yeah, cause a 2001 northstar is EXACTLY the same as a 1999....:shhh:

it's a great idea to swap in some 1999 cams into your 2001.....give that a try and let us know how it works out! Heck, don't stop there, use headbolts from a 1999 in your 2001.....

I can tell already that your project is going to turn out well! :rolleyes:

Submariner409
11-28-11, 10:11 AM
sorry everybody on here talking about the same engine 32 valve northstar mine is a 2001 deville. so far none opf u impress me n nowing what yall talking about

dwillv, Your 2001 Northstar 4.6L DOHC 275 hp VIN Y engine is VERY different - mechanically and electrically - from the 1999 and earlier versions. You'll need a service manual for YOUR car and year.

For your engine, using Norm's Inserts (www.huhnsolutions.com) you would follow Norm's torque recommendation. If you use Timeserts you would use the original GM torque specification. If you use Jakes studs (www.northstarperformance.com) then you would use Jake's torque specs for the nuts/washers.

There are no simple cut-and-dried answers: every instance is a bit different.

The original head bolt torque for your engine, as built by GM, is:

First pass = 30 ft/lb.
Second pass = +70 degrees
Third pass = +60 degrees
Fourth pass = +60 degrees

............so you can see that it's not just a simple torque figure.