: So much for your "bullet-proof" Northstar engines...



zr1mark
12-18-06, 03:56 PM
This is so depressing, and it's not even the money that hurts. I bought my Son the nicest '99 Eldo I could find last May. After it overheated twice hard,
which I'm sure was the headgasket, now a noise has gotten so loud in the engine I know I have to put a motor in it. And this is a car that could go back
in the showroom at 82k miles, it's that ice......
My first question is, will a 2000 and up motor work, or do I have to get an earlier Northstar to fit ? My mechanic will start the search next Spring, I can't bear to look at the car now I'm so depressed. I bought the boy a beater
for the Winter.
Does anyone have any ideas how an overheat turned into such a loud "knock"
in a matter of 3 months ??
Any help or support would be appreciated..

Lost and upset in Massachusetts,
Mark

CadillacSTS42005
12-18-06, 04:23 PM
no offense
but you come here ridiculeing our cars and then seek help?
perhaps i should be rude too and tell you this question has been coverded about a million times
if you dont like it then sell it
overheating has nothing to do with a knocking, sounds to me you ran it low on oil and threw a rod because thats the ONLY way to blow up a northstar... and dont say the idiot lights didnt come on, you or he should of checked it reguarless every so often...
lose the attitude it will get you far in life
and no only a 96-99 N* will be a direct drop in
95 will work if you change the intake..
00+ is completely different engine...

zr1mark
12-18-06, 04:44 PM
I'm not ridiculing the car, I love the car.
I am a little upset right now, but I'll get over it.
It's kinda' too bad it happened, that's all.
I did not want to appear abrasive, I hope I did not come across that way.

Your info on what engines fit is of great help....

Thanks,
Mark:worship:

CadillacSTS42005
12-18-06, 04:52 PM
np
sry myself
am very defensive of my car lol
did you he change or have the oil changed and not add the 7.5 qrts it needed?
may wanna pull the codes also to see if anything was stored
hold down the pass side warmer button and the off button on the a/c controls
your whole dash will light up and display fault codes if any

AlBundy
12-18-06, 04:53 PM
I understand your anger:rant2: . Sometimes it like that when the things we love let us down.:crybaby:

Ranger
12-18-06, 05:00 PM
I don't think the two are related. You can have the head gaskets replaced. Remember, there is no guarantee that a junk yard engine will not have a head gasket problem now or in the future. It's a crap shoot unless you spend big bucks on a new engine. If you have the gaskets replaced, be sure whoever does it is familiar with the Northstar and the Timeserting proceedure and that all 20 bolt holes are Timeserted. I would have the knock diagnosed. It could be a bad belt tensioner bearing. If it turnes out to be a rod (very uncommon), then a replacement engine is probably the best way to go. Sorry to hear about your bad luck.

chazglenn3
12-18-06, 05:39 PM
I also suggest a replacement engine. I had a LOUD knock in my engine that was caused by oil starvation (the pickup screen was blocked by excess silicone). My car is also in very good condition and I felt a new motor was worth the cost. I got the motor for $2695 with a 3 yr/unlimited mile warranty and paid $99 for shipping. Have a look at the link below and give Dave a call if you are interested. This is for a 4.0 but they sell as soon as they are posted and he doesn't have a 4.6 listed right now. Tell him Charles from Seattle sent ya...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/95-99-Remanufactured-Oldsmobile-Aurora-Northstar-4-0_W0QQitemZ130059278252QQihZ003QQcategoryZ33615QQr dZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Ranger
12-18-06, 06:54 PM
I forgot about that Clark. For that price a new engine is about the same (with labor) as a head gasket job.

dp102288
12-18-06, 07:32 PM
^^ That price for a Northstar is excellent! I am used to seeing close to $4k for a Northstar.

Sorry for your troubles Mark. If you can't get an engine for cheap, I would try to fix the knock like others said first. Then you can tackle the overheating.

codewize
12-18-06, 07:50 PM
I think any engine will quickly become junk by overheating it.

Now I'll also agree with the oil problem. Any time you know that engine's been over temp the oil should be changed ASAP. If it's a noise like that and you think it's a rod then if not you, someone has neglected the oil in the car.

There is a small chance that you're experiencing a very rare incident of a rod bolt coming loose but I doubt it.

It's also possible that someone before you packed a bunch of silicone in a half case or oil pan leak. Then the silicone gets sucked into the crankcase and clogs the pickup screen, as mentioned above.

dkozloski
12-18-06, 08:13 PM
I think any engine will quickly become junk by overheating it.

Now I'll also agree with the oil problem. Any time you know that engine's been over temp the oil should be changed ASAP. If it's a noise like that and you think it's a rod then if not you, someone has neglected the oil in the car.

There is a small chance that you're experiencing a very rare incident of a rod bolt coming loose but I doubt it.

It's also possible that someone before you packed a bunch of silicone in a half case or oil pan leak. Then the silicone gets sucked into the crankcase and clogs the pickup screen, as mentioned above.
I did numerous post crash teardowns for the FAA and NTSB of aircraft engines . The amount of silicon sealer that could be found on the oil pickup screen and in oil passages was astounding. I never used the stuff for that and other reasons.

I_Finally_Have_A_Cad
12-18-06, 10:22 PM
I am still having a little trouble getting past your first post. I don't think anyone ever said these engines are bullet proof. I know you changed your tone and I can definately understand being upset, but don't take that kind of attitude.

Anyway, you said it overheated twice right? How high did it hit, how long was it that high and did you change the oil right away? If any of these is a negative answer, then I wouldn't think twice about changing that engine. In fact, that would be my first inclination. What I have heard so far makes me think you should anyway. Why spend all that money and then have to replace it anyway? Beside, with a new engine, you have a warrantee for three years; that's amazing. If you can't or don't want to pay that, then I would suggest trying to get rid of it.

dkozloski
12-18-06, 10:51 PM
I am still having a little trouble getting past your first post. I don't think anyone ever said these engines are bullet proof. I know you changed your tone and I can definately understand being upset, but don't take that kind of attitude.

Anyway, you said it overheated twice right? How high did it hit, how long was it that high and did you change the oil right away? If any of these is a negative answer, then I wouldn't think twice about changing that engine. In fact, that would be my first inclination. What I have heard so far makes me think you should anyway. Why spend all that money and then have to replace it anyway? Beside, with a new engine, you have a warrantee for three years; that's amazing. If you can't or don't want to pay that, then I would suggest trying to get rid of it.
I confess I made a "bullet proof" comment. But I think there was a caveat about keeping oil in it. You can make a machine fool proof then along comes a better fool.

dp102288
12-19-06, 11:40 AM
:yeah:

Raze
12-19-06, 03:23 PM
If you overheated it "hard" you may have damaged more than a rod and popped a HG. The heads might be warped (need to have them checked/decked by a machine shop), also your rings might be toast and pistons damaged. I would seriously consider replacing the engine as there are alot of things that will need fixing if it's been overheated severely. All your gaskets will be toast too if you didn't immediatley change the oil which means you're likely going to need to replace the half case seal/oil pan gasket (this requires removal and basically a complete teardown of the engine).

Honestly it will be easier to drop a new engine in, afterall for $2800 to your door and some tools / engine hoist you can pretty much do the repair yourself. You might be able to do it cheaper if you rebuild your engine, but you have alot of parts to check/repair. Just my .02 take it for what it's worth

dkozloski
12-19-06, 04:12 PM
If you overheated it "hard" you may have damaged more than a rod and popped a HG. The heads might be warped (need to have them checked/decked by a machine shop), also your rings might be toast and pistons damaged. I would seriously consider replacing the engine as there are alot of things that will need fixing if it's been overheated severely. All your gaskets will be toast too if you didn't immediatley change the oil which means you're likely going to need to replace the half case seal/oil pan gasket (this requires removal and basically a complete teardown of the engine).

Honestly it will be easier to drop a new engine in, afterall for $2800 to your door and some tools / engine hoist you can pretty much do the repair yourself. You might be able to do it cheaper if you rebuild your engine, but you have alot of parts to check/repair. Just my .02 take it for what it's worth
Do a forum search on "limp home mode". Cadillac Northstars have a system where they switch on and off banks of cylinders and allow the engine to aircool. This is not the infamous 8-6-4 feature. The Northstar can be driven many miles safely with no coolant at all. The only caveat is to change the oil as soon as possible. It sounds like BS but is gospel. If you're tempted to question you better look it up first.

Ranger
12-19-06, 05:14 PM
I confess I made a "bullet proof" comment. But I think there was a caveat about keeping oil in it. You can make a machine fool proof then along comes a better fool.

Koz,
I seem to recall the Guru using that term in reference to the lower end.

I might add, fool proof is one thing, but idiot proof is a whole nother story.

Raze
12-19-06, 07:06 PM
dkozloski,

I'm confused why you are asking me to lookup the limp home mode? I'm familiar with it and understand how it works. Sure if you drive less than 50 miles at less than 50mph you're most likely good but we don't know how this particular car was driven do we?

I'll ask you this though, if you were presonally pulling your own heads after overheating the car twice wouldn't you simply check them to ensure they are within tolerance. It's a bit harder to check the internals but if a knock develops and it wasn't there before the overheat yet there after, isn't it logical to assume something happened durring the overheat which may have caused damaged to an internal component?

Still I don't understand your post, feel free free to clear it up

dp102288
12-19-06, 07:37 PM
If you overheated it "hard" you may have damaged more than a rod and popped a HG. The heads might be warped (need to have them checked/decked by a machine shop), also your rings might be toast and pistons damaged. I would seriously consider replacing the engine as there are alot of things that will need fixing if it's been overheated severely. All your gaskets will be toast too if you didn't immediatley change the oil which means you're likely going to need to replace the half case seal/oil pan gasket (this requires removal and basically a complete teardown of the engine).

Honestly it will be easier to drop a new engine in, afterall for $2800 to your door and some tools / engine hoist you can pretty much do the repair yourself. You might be able to do it cheaper if you rebuild your engine, but you have alot of parts to check/repair. Just my .02 take it for what it's worth

I would change the engine also. Because I would want to check everything, it would be more $$ for time and parts, and whatever I didn't get checked I would always be worried about.

dkozloski
12-19-06, 08:34 PM
dkozloski,

I'm confused why you are asking me to lookup the limp home mode? I'm familiar with it and understand how it works. Sure if you drive less than 50 miles at less than 50mph you're most likely good but we don't know how this particular car was driven do we?

I'll ask you this though, if you were presonally pulling your own heads after overheating the car twice wouldn't you simply check them to ensure they are within tolerance. It's a bit harder to check the internals but if a knock develops and it wasn't there before the overheat yet there after, isn't it logical to assume something happened durring the overheat which may have caused damaged to an internal component?

Still I don't understand your post, feel free free to clear it up
The guy that designed the Northstar cooling system claimed that you would really have to work at it to do heat damage to the engine because of the built in protection features. You just can't get it hot enough without it shutting down on you until it cools. Anytime there is a young man involved you have to suspect mischief.
There is a lot more to this engine story than we've been told.

Raze
12-19-06, 09:03 PM
I totally agree.

HITMONEY
12-19-06, 09:18 PM
Someone must have been really abusive to that engine before you got it. I don't think there are many around here that are harder on their N* than me. I Do take care of it with proper service etc etc... but my car sees flat out daily without so much as a hiccup. Just turned 70k on the odometer. If I get a 100k out of it I will be sastified and then plunk in a new engine and rebuild the tranny and go for another balls to the wall 100k.

I will most likely buy another new car sometime this year, but I love my N* sled and will always be my daily driver.

Sorry to here you had problems in the Eldo, rest assured that is really not the typical of the experiences you will find here.

Put a crate motor in it for about 3k and drive it till the wheels fall off, and I bet at such time as they do.. your crate N* will still be running strong.

codewize
12-19-06, 09:30 PM
I agree with Hitmoney. I run my car probably harder than I should. On the other side of the coin I need my car to last a while. It just turned 40k but I'd like to see 150k out of it.

I usually like to keep a car at least a few years after the payments end. That makes it all worth it. I think I'll be around 80k - 90k when it's paid for.

I also see flat out just about every day weather it's to pass someone, race or just to hear and feel the car. I also care for the car well.

ELDOminator
12-19-06, 09:48 PM
^^^^ Yeah. My ETC went into Limp mode when bringing it 100 miles from home... !!! It was having an A/C repair and for some strange reason the fella musta removed the radiator along with the compressor? Never refilled the coolant. 1/4 home I noticed the heat was WAY up there! Then it quickly went down to about half way. It would repeat: Go up to just under red, then go down to half way, over and over. I was afraid for the engine, but it held up perfectly. I know 100 miles is a long way to be driving in Limp mode, but I say it works great! :)

Ranger
12-19-06, 10:04 PM
Did you get a check coolant level message? Did you get the engine hot message? was power drastically reduced? if not, then you were not in the limp home mode. 100 miles in that condition would be dangerous if not suicidal to the engine. I would never attemp that unless I was being shot at.

codewize
12-19-06, 10:23 PM
Ranger, if you were being shot at you could just hide behind the bullet-proof engine silly. Why take the chance on damaging it. LOL

eldorado1
12-19-06, 10:31 PM
Lets call it "mostly bulletproof"

mostly as in, everything except a 50 cal

CadiJeff
12-19-06, 11:09 PM
mmmm being aluminum I think a 30-06 ball round would go through at certian angles, I prefer the term "bullet ressistant"

annie
12-19-06, 11:40 PM
I had a big whole right behind the front tire in the coolant line that runs from the coolant reservoir to the radiator. I was driving from long island to my mechanic in queens and got stuck in stop and go traffic on the van wick between Rockaway Boulevard and Linden Boulevard. My temp slowly went up as I sat in traffic so I decided to get off. As I got off my message center started flashing me that the engine was to hot and I should stop. I kept going so I could get off the high way on to a side street, when I got to a side street my Eduardo was flashing at me and told me it was shutting off and then conked out. After adding some water and letting it cool I started it up (witch it did like a new engine) and drove to my mechanic. My mechanic changed my line and flushed my coolant system, he also changed my oil (with out me asking) with my favorite oil royal purple. My 98 ESC has worked perfectly ever since with no problems even as she passes 120,000 miles.:cloud9:


I was surprised that the so called limp home mode did not let me limp to my mechanic but shut down and would not even crank the starter (it just flashed that ENGINE HOT message) till it cooled.

dkozloski
12-20-06, 12:02 AM
I had a big whole right behind the front tire in the coolant line that runs from the coolant reservoir to the radiator. I was driving from long island to my mechanic in queens and got stuck in stop and go traffic on the van wick between Rockaway Boulevard and Linden Boulevard. My temp slowly went up as I sat in traffic so I decided to get off. As I got off my message center started flashing me that the engine was to hot and I should stop. I kept going so I could get off the high way on to a side street, when I got to a side street my Eduardo was flashing at me and told me it was shutting off and then conked out. After adding some water and letting it cool I started it up (witch it did like a new engine) and drove to my mechanic. My mechanic changed my line and flushed my coolant system, he also changed my oil (with out me asking) with my favorite oil royal purple. My 98 ESC has worked perfectly ever since with no problems even as she passes 120,000 miles.:cloud9:


I was surprised that the so called limp home mode did not let me limp to my mechanic but shut down and would not even crank the starter (it just flashed that ENGINE HOT message) till it cooled.
Limp home mode protected your engine just like it's supposed to. The proof is your good operation since. Probably, if you could have managed a steady moderate speed it would have kept going. It depends on pumping air through the non-firing cylinders to cool the motor.

dp102288
12-20-06, 09:30 PM
I love having limp home mode if I ever need it.

I agree with Hitmoney's last post!!! :thumbsup:

wydopnthrtl
12-21-06, 11:37 AM
There is a basic flaw here. Overheating a motor "hard" & "twice" is a direct result of operator error & ignorance of basic scientific principals.

Place the blame on yourselves.. instead of the perception that you have of a northstar engine.

You **might** have had some footing to your points had you purchased the car new from a caddy dealership. But instead you buy a used high milage car, give it to your son, expect like new performance, and then overheat it twice? Come on, Unrealistic goals..

Why don't you have Jr fix this himself? Either with *HIS* money and/or his time / effort? Many lessons can be learned from this event.. don't let them slip by. You gonna blame someone else.. or take responsibility?

Regards, Rich

codewize
12-21-06, 12:17 PM
:yeah:

eldorado1
12-21-06, 02:43 PM
best post ever

dp102288
12-21-06, 08:24 PM
:yeah:

zr1mark
12-22-06, 11:55 AM
Thanks for the kind comments Rich.......:bigroll:
But the car was running perfectly before the overheating event. Now how was I to know it would overheat after owning the car for just 3 months ?
And my mechanic finds nothing wrong with it so it happens again. Now who's fault is that ?
Are you possibly being a little harsh here ?
I'm just more disappointed than anything else.
I'll make the car right again, it will just cost a few bucks to accomplish.
The only thing I did not do is change the oil right away, or take it to a
Caddy dealer instead of a regular mechanic.
Other than that, for a car that I know has been babied since day one,
I don't really think this shouldv'e happened......

Please wish me luck in the Spring when we fix her.....:thumbsup:

Thanks,
Mark

AlBundy
12-22-06, 12:33 PM
Good luck with your fix. Hope it all works out.

dp102288
12-22-06, 09:26 PM
Mark, good luck. Do keep us posted.

codewize
12-22-06, 11:54 PM
I don't think we're being harsh but rather bringing a few N* issues to light that you may not have known about. The N* doesn't like to be babied at all. It needs to be run. Not beat to death, just taken out and run.

Someone here used the example of a thoroughbred horse. You don't take him out to plow the back 40, he'll be upset and bored. You take him out to run. The N* like to see red-line shifts and was designed to do so. Like I said, not beat to death just well exercised.