4.9 Exhaust Note
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HT4100 4.1, 4.5, 4.9 Discussion, 4.9 Exhaust Note in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; This is my first 4.9 having owned a couple of Northstar cars ('96 STS and '99 STS). The '91 STS ...
  1. #1
    chazglenn3's Avatar
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    4.9 Exhaust Note

    This is my first 4.9 having owned a couple of Northstar cars ('96 STS and '99 STS). The '91 STS I have now sure does sound "growly" compared the the other cars. Has the muffler likely been replaced or did these cars sound like that from the factory? And man does this thing fly!

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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    I think its just the F-body style muffler, they are known for rotting out which in turn makes them sound tougher until they rot away enough to sound like crap. But I have a question for you: You think that the 4.9 flies? Are you comparing that to the N*'s? If so, you have had some pretty beat N*'s. Because really there is NO comparision.

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    General_Motors_Fan is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    Also, some one could have put a Hi-Performance muffler on it some time along the line.

    I have a factory type on my 4.9 right now and altho you can tell it's a V-8 alright, it's still pretty quiet. But that's about to change as I just bought a Cherry Bomb Turbo last night. I was a little disappointed that I'll need to reduce the outlet end, but I can't complain too much about the price.

    ....guaranteed for life to boot!

    Also, I was told a head of time that 4.9's are pretty quick. Testing it out a time or two, I'll compared it to my '56 Chevy 327, 4-Speed, with 4.11 gears.

    I was pretty surprised on the performance of one.

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    chazglenn3's Avatar
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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    Quote Originally Posted by Highline Cady View Post
    I think its just the F-body style muffler, they are known for rotting out which in turn makes them sound tougher until they rot away enough to sound like crap. But I have a question for you: You think that the 4.9 flies? Are you comparing that to the N*'s? If so, you have had some pretty beat N*'s. Because really there is NO comparision.

    Okay...let me clarify...the 4.9 flies from a stand still...it feels quicker off the line than my STS did. Just up to about 30-40MPH. Of course this has the 3:11 final drive.

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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    Quote Originally Posted by General_Motors_Fan View Post
    Also, some one could have put a Hi-Performance muffler on it some time along the line.

    I have a factory type on my 4.9 right now and altho you can tell it's a V-8 alright, it's still pretty quiet. But that's about to change as I just bought a Cherry Bomb Turbo last night. I was a little disappointed that I'll need to reduce the outlet end, but I can't complain too much about the price.

    ....guaranteed for life to boot!

    Also, I was told a head of time that 4.9's are pretty quick. Testing it out a time or two, I'll compared it to my '56 Chevy 327, 4-Speed, with 4.11 gears.

    I was pretty surprised on the performance of one.
    Must be an aftermarket muffler then. It really burbles at idle and growls on take off.

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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    Quote Originally Posted by chazglenn3 View Post
    Okay...let me clarify...the 4.9 flies from a stand still...it feels quicker off the line than my STS did. Just up to about 30-40MPH. Of course this has the 3:11 final drive.
    Yeah, exactly. A 4.9 will stomp a FWD Northstar off the line, and up until about 30-40 mph. I raced a 96-97 STS in my '92 deVille, with the normal 2.73:1 final drive ratio, and I beat him pretty good from a stop, but by about 40 he passed on by me and at about 50, I was at his rear bumper and he just kept on pullin' away.

    The 4.9 makes prodigious amounts of low end torque. The Northstar, in either variant, does not. Although, the Northstar, in both variants, has a hell of a midrange and top end. The 4.9 has a decent mid range and a pretty crappy top end.

    But to answer the original question, the 4.9 does have a rough sound to it, throaty, raspy...aggressive. I love it! And every 4.9 has that same sound, and the 4.5 has a similar sound, but I don't recall the 4.1 being too similar.
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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    In particular, the '91 STS rips it off the line.......it kills all other STS 4.9 or 4.6 and all other 4.9 in any Cadillac.
    The factory muffler is a single inlet, dual outlet with (three square) rectangles at each outlet of stainless steel. They also sound real throaty even new. Enjoy!

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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    Quote Originally Posted by chazglenn3 View Post
    Okay...let me clarify...the 4.9 flies from a stand still...it feels quicker off the line than my STS did. Just up to about 30-40MPH. Of course this has the 3:11 final drive.
    3.33 final drive.

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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    I had a 92 seville with the 4.9, back in the day, and yes it smoked the tires easily off of a dead stop. Much easier than my N* does. But the 92 didn't have traction control. The newer N*'s have not only traction control but also torque management. I'm not trying to hate on the 4.9 but the N* is superior to it, period, as long as you change the coolant regularly. A 4.9 MAY jump it a little off of a dead stop, but only if your not smoking your tires, which is hard to do because they do just roast as most of the weight of the car shifts back off of a W.O.T. launch, either way the N* either blows by you while your spinning your tires or screams by you after she hits her torque band, and you'll never see anything but the back of it again.

    I may be a little biased, I had head gasket failures on my 4.9 twice, the first time new motor, the second time patched up and traded in. Once bitten twice shy. Love the N* though, I must have gotten a good one, knock on wood.

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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    Quote Originally Posted by illumina View Post
    3.33 final drive.
    Noted...thanks for the correction!

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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    Quote Originally Posted by chazglenn3 View Post
    Noted...thanks for the correction!

    It's all good.

    The Northstar tranny final drive configurations include the 3.11 final drive, but not the HT series engine/tranny combo.

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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    Quote Originally Posted by Highline Cady View Post
    I had a 92 seville with the 4.9, back in the day, and yes it smoked the tires easily off of a dead stop. Much easier than my N* does. But the 92 didn't have traction control. The newer N*'s have not only traction control but also torque management. I'm not trying to hate on the 4.9 but the N* is superior to it, period, as long as you change the coolant regularly. A 4.9 MAY jump it a little off of a dead stop, but only if your not smoking your tires, which is hard to do because they do just roast as most of the weight of the car shifts back off of a W.O.T. launch, either way the N* either blows by you while your spinning your tires or screams by you after she hits her torque band, and you'll never see anything but the back of it again.

    I may be a little biased, I had head gasket failures on my 4.9 twice, the first time new motor, the second time patched up and traded in. Once bitten twice shy. Love the N* though, I must have gotten a good one, knock on wood.

    The Northstar does have better performance than the 4.9, I'll give you that, but only in the broad, general sense of 0-60 and 1/4 mile times. The 4.9 makes all of it's power in the lower end of the rpm range, where it's used most in a day to day basis, unless you're driving it like a race car, but then you've gotta consider the original intended owners of these cars...senior citizens, they're probably not gonna drive the car hard at all.

    And even if the newer Northstar cars didn't have traction control or torque management, they would not light up the tires like a 4.9 does, simply because the 4.9 makes so much of it's power at a low RPM and the Northstar makes it at a much higher RPM. Now if you look at the horsepower and torque specs of both engines, you'll see that the Northstar does in fact make a bit more torque than the 4.9, but it makes it at a much higher RPM.

    It's much, much more common to see headgasket issues on the Northstars than it is the 4.9's. They do happen on the 4.9's but it is quite rare. You were one of the unfortunate ones that had that happen too, but I'm willing to bet that if you bought another one (one that was maintained properly...or atleast pretty well) you wouldn't have headgasket problems with it. But I do think it was kinda dumb that the engineers at Cadillac specified an iron head setup on an aluminium block, but whatever, what's done is done.

    I'm a pretty staunch supporter of the 4.9, even if it does have it's flaws (ie. main bearing thump). My '92 deVille is at 137,2xx miles right now and the motor it's self has given me no real trouble, and I've had it for 38,000 miles (2.5 years) and I do drive it quite aggressively from time to time.

    Based on a lot of the threads I've read in here regarding problems with the Northstar, and from talking to people who've owned them, I can't honestly say that I'm in a huge rush to buy a Northstar powered anything. I just don't trust their longevity and repair history that much, and from what I've heard, a lot of repairs on that are quite expensive and complicated to do, even in comparison to the 4.9, a motor that's sorta a PITA to work on, considering how it's mounted transversely and there isn't much room.
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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    I recomend buying a certified N*, if you at all can. Then when things break, you just drop it off and get a Gold Key rental, they usually give me a new, CTS, SRX, or sometimes a base DTS, I beat the snot out of them until mine finished. It's pretty sweet of Cadillac to pick up the bill, and keep you in a Cadillac while your own Cady is getting worked on.

    I worked at a Cady dealer for 10 years so I know the weaknesses and strengths of the 4.1 4.4(Vseries)4.5 4.6 4.9s, I have driven tens of thousands of Cadillacs from Allantes to Coupe Devilles to Limos to Hearses to XLRs and all the V series and all of the newer N*s including the rear drivers. And my only point was that the N*'s (FWD) will catch the 4.1 4.5 or the 4.9s before you even get through the intersection. It does not take to 30 mph for a N* to catch any of these.

    Now I'm really not trying to flame any of you 4.9 guys, I loved my 92 Seville when I owned it it was a great car for me up until the last 15,000 miles I owned it. But they just can't hang with the N*'s. Just the opinions of an old 4.9 owner who upgraded to a certified N*, 3 more years or 40,000 miles of worry free ownership.

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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    Yes, the Northstar will pass the 4.9 at 30-45mph, that is a given. If you're gonna buy a motor based solely on how fast it'll do 0-60 and 1/4 mile times, then the Northstar is all for you if you want a fast american made, cheap(er) luxury car. But I don't believe I can buy a certified Northstar Cadillac in the models I like, as they are all too old (Eldorado, DeVille Concours, 93-03 (especially 93-97) STS), and the newer ones don't do anything for me. But then when the certification ends (is it like a warranty or what?) where are you when something expensive goes?
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    Re: 4.9 Exhaust Note

    First the N* will pass the 4.9 way before 30 mph. But I understand if you don't like the newer style cadillacs. I agree with you the best looking cadillacs in recent history are the 92-97 Seville, SLS's and STS's, in my opinion. I also like the last generation Devilles, but it is hit or miss for people. As for the certification, ya it's basically an extention of the warranty minus brakes and tire replacements, wear and tear parts. But it goes way further than that, cadillac pays for rentals, I always get a cady when mine is in getting worked on. They also have perks like "trip interuption" when I was driving back from Vegas the rear window regulator let loose and the window fell down into the door, I stoped somewhere in Arizona at a dealer and they had to next day the part. Cadillac payed for the rental car, my hotel, and every meal, they even picked up the tab for the toothpaste I bought. So to answer your last question, what will I do when the certification runs out, I'll buy another certified Cady. I was really impressed with how they treat you for 7 years or 100,000miles.

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