People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?
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Cadillac STS Forum - 2005 through 2012 Discussion, People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks? in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; I'm wondering if anybody has had any problems with the Northstar engines leaking oil at the half case seal? Reason ...
  1. #1
    bob k is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    I'm wondering if anybody has had any problems with the Northstar engines leaking oil at the half case seal? Reason im asking is because we are in the market for a new Caddy, and trying to decide if we should try a newer Northstar or go with the 3.6 (and possibly deal with the timing chain stretch). We had a 97 SLS with 205K, but its really starting to show its age, and it leaks oil like crazy. You can see smoke come out from under the hood when you park the car, the half case seal is shot. Boss also has a 1999 STS, and it leaks oil at the half case seal as well. We really love these cars except for that issue, and would love to know if GM has finally fixed this problem on the newer Northstars, so im looking forward for some of you to chime in! Thank you in advance.

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    dkozloski's Avatar
    dkozloski is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    My '06 Northstar with 55K miles doesn't leak a drop.
    Don't mess with Binky Bear!


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    1BadCadSTS's Avatar
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    I think you mean to ask about the 3.6 they drink oil not the LH2 N*

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    curtc's Avatar
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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    The half case seal leak does still happen on the redesigned N*....But it isn't nearly as common as it was in the FWD variation, I've only seen a few threads regarding that in here.

    As far as the 3.6 (both non-DI and DI variations) they not only like to stretch timing chains but they are much more notorious for drinking oil than the LH2 N* is...GM utilized a very poorly designed PCV system in those engines.
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    EChas3's Avatar
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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    My wife & I have had our V8's for 4.5 & 5 years and our garage floor has been dry the whole time except for one leaky water pump on my car years ago (and a few Winter car turds). We have driven over 100,000 miles and think very highly of the N*.

    Her car was a Hertz rental and does burn a little oil; less than a quart in 10,000 miles. She goes strickly by the OLM, ignoring the annual oil change advice in the manual. She gets it changed with new Mobil1 when alerted (about every 18 months & 10k). I check it when she gets back from road trips and add a sip when it's low. (It's her car. Why fight forces of nature?)

    My car was broken in by some wonderful person in northern Wisconsin who had the dealer change the oil 4 times at 3,000 mile intervals to break-in my N* for me. I have the service record. It now uses virtually no oil and I don't spare the throttle. See the 'sticky' thread at the top of the forum. It's true, this N* thrives on WOT & compression braking.

    It's fun, too!

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by curtc View Post
    As far as the 3.6 (both non-DI and DI variations) they not only like to stretch timing chains but they are much more notorious for drinking oil than the LH2 N* is...GM utilized a very poorly designed PCV system in those engines.
    Members also report cam & ring issues. They aren't as frequent, but there's nothing like catestrophic oil loss to ruin a trip. This forum contains multiple such reports.

    If you like the V6, that's fine, but do yourself well and check the oil often.

  7. #6
    bob k is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    Thanks for your input. Its a bit frustrating because between the two engines you are deciding what kind of problems you are willing to tolerate. I didn't learn about the 3.6 oil consumption til now, and now im really averse to getting a GM car with the 3.6. Its frustrating because we really love the look of the Cadillac and there is nothing else on the market like it, but after our experience with the Northstar we are hesitant in having to deal with the half case seal again. Not an easy choice...

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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    LH2 is a rock even if the half case leaks is a small seeping nothing to worry about

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    curtc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob k View Post
    Thanks for your input. Its a bit frustrating because between the two engines you are deciding what kind of problems you are willing to tolerate. I didn't learn about the 3.6 oil consumption til now, and now im really averse to getting a GM car with the 3.6. Its frustrating because we really love the look of the Cadillac and there is nothing else on the market like it, but after our experience with the Northstar we are hesitant in having to deal with the half case seal again. Not an easy choice...
    I'd tolerate a weaping half case seal over worrying my timing chain might snap at 70MPH anyday....Let's see, buy some Mobil1 once in a while or buy a new engines if the valves bend and cylinder walls score...hard decision...
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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    Bob K can't shake the mis-information that the 2005 & up 4.6 Northstar uses excessive oil. IMHO, there is no real pattern of this, even when abused. Some examples will burn a bit but very few leak. Most engines burn a little, especiall when producing like power & torque.

    It's only real shortcoming is that it only gets average mileage. (It was expensive to build, but that's moot now!)

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    curtc's Avatar
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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by EChas3 View Post
    It's only real shortcoming is that it only gets average mileage.
    I average 20-22MPG per tank...I'll take that in a full size, 320HP V8 powered luxury car any day...
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    1BadCadSTS's Avatar
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    He's awd as am I. 13.5 mpg average.

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    EChas3's Avatar
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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    ^^^ I do not disagree. My wife & I took her car on a trip to visit Mom today and got 24.5 mpg. Once before trashing the rock-like Michelin Energy tires that hers came with, we ran a full tank at around 80 MPH (2,000 RPM) and got 25 mpg calculated.

    As Curt observes, I'll take that. It's not bad considering the STS is a 2-ton Luxury Sport Touring Sedan with over 300 HP & 300 Ft/lbs Torque. But some competitors are a bit more stingy on gas. I know of a car costing about $80k that makes almost 400 HP & gets 30 mpg. I do not want to trade; even at $4, just $1,000 still buys 250 gallons of gas. "Not bad" is not a slam; it's merely OK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EChas3
    ^^^ I do not disagree. My wife & I took her car on a trip to visit Mom today and got 24.5 mpg. Once before trashing the rock-like Michelin Energy tires that hers came with, we ran a full tank at around 80 MPH (2,000 RPM) and got 25 mpg calculated.

    As Curt observes, I'll take that. It's not bad considering the STS is a 2-ton Luxury Sport Touring Sedan with over 300 HP & 300 Ft/lbs Torque. But some competitors are a bit more stingy on gas. I know of a car costing about $80k that makes almost 400 HP & gets 30 mpg. I do not want to trade; even at $4, just $1,000 still buys 250 gallons of gas. "Not bad" is not a slam; it's merely OK.
    Your wife's is rwd and yours is awd correct?

    The 273 rear in the base rwd v8 will net good mpg while the awd with its greater mass and 323 gearing will eat fuel like a fat kid eats cupcakes.

    I don't mind it. The toys and power are worth the trade off to me. I've never had an Eco car, ever. Always a GM V8. Not to mention with PA winters and my other car an SLP SS Camaro I wanted something which would prove to be a tank in snow. My STS4 has passed many a SUV and truck stuck in snow.

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    dkozloski's Avatar
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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    My '06 AWD V8 STS gets 22-24 MPG when the weather warms up. If you spin the wheels to get going and slide them to stop the mileage drops accordingly.
    Ludacrisvp and Ludacrisvp like this.
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  16. #15
    jsiddall is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: People with the 2005+ Northstars: Do you have problems with oil leaks?

    Well, I have 190K miles on my '06 and it does leak oil a bit -- apparently from the cam covers because it is running down the side of the block onto the PS pump. I also see this starting on my 110K mile SRX, and even a bit on my 80K mile SRX. So yes, they will eventually leak enough oil to drip on your driveway, but not for a long time. Unlike my 140K mile '97 STS that burned/leaked about ten times as much

    As for mileage, I have never seen 24 MPG on my 323 geared RWD STS, and right now it is averaging about 13 MPG with city driving. So safe to say mine eats fuel. Still, as others have pointed out, no one buys these to be miserly.

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