Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar

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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar in Cadillac Engine Discussion; Hi, I just bought a '96 Deville that had a broken crank and block, so I bought a replacement engine ...
  1. #1
    97EldoCoupe's Avatar
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
    Automobile(s): 97 ETC x2, 04 GXP, 04 STS x2, 97 ESC, 99 Deville, 05 SRX
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    The Great White North

    Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar

    Hi, I just bought a '96 Deville that had a broken crank and block, so I bought a replacement engine for the car. The engine I bought is supposedly from a 2000 Deville with less than 60,000 miles on it. I know it will bolt in without a problem, but here's where it gets complicated:

    How can I get the '96 wiring harness to plug into the coil packs on the valve/cam covers? There should be a way to rewire the harness to work with the new coil-on-plug design. What is the best way to go about this?

    Another thing, my factory engine was the LD8 and I thought I bought an LD8 but it turns out it's an L37 (says on the block and I noticed the larger throttle body), will the PCM work ok with this engine? Any sensors that should be installed from the old engine?

    The reason I bought this engine even though it's not the right one is because it was a heck of a good deal and super clean/low miles. I really don't want to convert the new engine to the old coil pack setup if I can avoid it.

    Any and all suggestions and comments will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
    JimD is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): '98 STS (RIP @ 206,xxx miles)
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Metro ATL

    Re: Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar

    You have a challenge in front of you.

    I cannot locate the various posts I saved when the 2000+ engine first started hitting the roads, but there are significant engine control differences in addition the the coil on plug difference you mentioned. For one, the crankshaft position sensors in your new engine have a three pin connector. You could try to install the crank sensors from your old engine.

    But, at some point the reluctor gear on the crank was changed and I question if your old crank position sensors will work properly or even fit up to the reluctor gear in the 2000 engine.

    And changing the engine type is going to leave you with an incompatible final drive ratio in the transaxle. Not sure it will be a problem, but keep that in mind.

    Not to rain on your parade 'cause I would like to see this swap made. You do have other wheels, right? Good luck.

  4. #3
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Woodstock Ill.

    Re: Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar

    Can you return it? You bought more problems than you know. The PCM is not compatible, nor is the trans. I don't think the entire engine wiring harness is either. Probably other things that I am not even thinking of.

    Jim beat me to it and already mentioned one.

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  6. #4
    weister42 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
    Automobile(s): 1998 Cadillac Deville Sedan
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar

    Might as well buy another compatible N* engine and save that other one for a rainy day...swap it into another car???

  7. #5
    AJxtcman's Avatar
    AJxtcman is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): The Northstar Tuner
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Rock Hill SC

    Re: Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar

    I have a 2000+ trans in my Fiero with a 99 engine and PCM. It would be a lot easier to go the other way. The engine question. Hmmm.
    lets see.
    I think your screwed.
    Hmmm. It can be done.
    Too much money.
    I have seen it done!
    I have seen it done with aftermarket PCM and trans controller. Very messy
    Hmmm. It is all about the crank sensors and the reluctor ring.
    Hmmm. I will pull a 99 crank and look at it next to a 2000 tonight.
    The 2000 is such a better engine in reliability. Not the same power.
    I could set up a PCM to run the 2000 cam style in a 99 PCM, But I am honestly not far enough along to reset the crank trigger angles.
    Hmm that is too bad.

  8. #6
    Playdrv4me's Avatar
    Playdrv4me is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
    Automobile(s): 1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    TPA / STL / ICT / SAT

    Re: Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar

    Wow, the only way you could have gotten yourself a more incompatible engine would have been to get one from one of the RWD N*'s!

    I say sell the one youve got and get yourself a better matching year, then WHILE you have the engine out, timesert the headbolts and rtv the crankcase if it hasnt been done already.

  9. #7
    lisekpl's Avatar
    lisekpl is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
    Automobile(s): 1996 STS
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chicago, IL

    Re: Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar

    I'm with everyone here, I just swapped a 99 to a 96 and even that turned out to be a PITA. And this is the 99, you would think that they are identical, but I needed a new compressor, alternator (2001), I just made myself custom AC hoses from the 96 and 99 ones (condensor is mounted differently), custom rear exhaust piece, just to name a few. And I read that the 2000 was a totally redesigned motor, especially w/ the different reluctor wheel. I also think that the firing order on the 99 is diff. then that of the 96, but that shouldnt be a problem as Im using the 96 ECM. Other then that, I think if you decide to do the swap you will be in a world of @#$%.

  10. #8
    zonie77 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): 94 ETC,97 STS
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Re: Need help and advice on installing the new Northstar

    It has been done but it's not easy. Some did it a couple of years ago but they did not give many details. They did use the sensors to match the car.

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