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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Changing spark plugs on a Northstar in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I'm not sure how to feel about this......I called a couple of shops to see what the price would be ...
  1. #31
    cadillacrick is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    I'm not sure how to feel about this......I called a couple of shops to see what the price would be just to supply the labor to change the plugs in my 1993 Northstar, Seville. The costs range anywhere from $110-$145. They all said it was about 1.5 hours for labor. I just changed the plugs in 30 minutes. WTF?!?!

    Don't get me wrong, I don't paying.....but that's getting a little outrageous!

  2. #32
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    Changing the spark plugs in a rate shop is priced on the published time charged for the average repair.

    Depending on the speed of the mechanic, its entirely possible to complete a job in less than half the "accepted" time.

    In other words, its routine for a shop to bill 2 jobs which were completed in half the time required, gaining the shop "double time".

  3. #33
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    Flat rate is kind of goofy for plugs and wires.
    It is like .4 for one and then .2 for each additional or something.
    Labor is not usually added in time guides for both.
    I think I usually charge like 3 hours or something to do plugs and wires together.
    Of course that depends on the year and model. Some N* engines don't have wires at all, but the coil packs can be a nightmare to get off if they have AIR.

    You have to remember flat rate is based on book time, not necessarily actual time.
    There are things that can make it take longer than what the book shows.
    It is a broken system but that is what the industry goes by. The total cost will vary based on local labor rates.

  4. #34
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    I think I usually charge like 3 hours or something to do plugs and wires together.
    How does that work? I thought you got what book calls for and the dealer has a flat rate. Are you saying that each tech sets his own prices and any given job could vary depending on who does it?

  5. #35
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    Ranger, sometimes yeah that is how it works.
    I use the book as a guide and add or take things away based on how much diagnosis I have involved and if I see other things that need to be handled along the way.
    There are things the book doesn't take into account.
    I always try to be fair and I usually end up selling myself short to be honest, but I want my customers to get their maximum quality of work for their dollar. Sadly there are guys in the industry who don't play fair.
    Some guys take the book time and indiscriminantly add to it for whatever reason.
    I have seen guys try to charge as much as twice the book labor for a given job.

    It can vary from car to car, based on circumstances as I described.
    It is kind of hard to explain, but I think you get my point.
    What it boils down to is to give an estimate I like to have the car in my stall to see what I am up against when I check the book time and figure how much time I am really going to need to fix the car.

    I'd be the first one to admit the flat rate system is broken.

  6. #36
    Cadillacattack is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Thumbs up Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    On the 1996 Northstar the front plugs came out in a jiffy. The rears look harder, but come out in a snap. I had no need to remove any coil packs or covers. Just a good steady hand. As for the plugs to use it is best to do as the slogan says. Keep your car all GM. So the best bet was to use the AC Delco 41-950 plug. These plugs aren't cheap like they used to be close to 6 smackers a piece from the auto parts store. However they will last a long, long time. The specs are what is needed for original performance.
    Professional are designed to meet increased performance and reliability requirements while satisfying drivers who demand the best.
    Features include:
    • Dual tip provides outstanding performance and exceptional durability
    • Ceramic insulator is nearly diamond-hard and provides added strength and shock resistance
    • Nickel/chrome alloy electrodes resist wear from gap erosion and corrosion for maintenance-free service
    • Hot-tip insulator heats fast and fires hot to resist fouling
    • Copper-core center electrode fires hot to resist fouling and improve heat dissipation
    • Fits older engines that originally used conventional plugs
    Hope this helps.

  7. #37
    Submariner409's Avatar
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    Considering that this is essentialy a dead thread, I doubt it. All been covered many times.

  8. #38
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    Thumbs up Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    Cadillacattack: Thank you very much for your information. It was very helpful, despite Sub-Naysayer's opinion. I just bought plugs, but thank goodness I haven't put them in yet. I will take them back and exchange them for the 41-950's. The info you posted is the type of details I was looking for.

    Submarine: I commend you for your knowledge of the N*, but for crying outloud man, you don't have to be so negative all the time.

  9. #39
    khubla is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    There is a much easier way to change spark plugs on a Northstar engine. I just finished changing all 8 plugs on my 1996 Deville and did it in one hour including a short test drive. First here are the tools that you will need: A 3/8 " ratchet, a 12" extension, a 3/8 swivel end, a spark plug socket, a flashlight and a small telescopic magnet. You do not need to remove anything on the engine to access the plugs. The front plugs are easy and simple to change out. Now for the rear. The rear bank of cylinders are numbered 7-1-3-5 and starting on the left side facing the firewall is #7. You will need to position yourself on top of the engine to see behind the distributor. Remove the 2 distributor wires over #7 to access the S. Plug wire end directly below, pull out the plug wire and remove the plug with your socket set. Replace the S. Plug and before moving to the next plug replace the two distributor wires you removed. Repeat this process. The magnet is handy for placing the new plugs back in the plug well. The last plug, # 5 does not require removing any distributor wires.

  10. #40
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    Check your plug numbers and wire connections. Your rear bank sequence is wrong, and you should remove and clean the entire coil pack and ICM contacts (pre-2000) or both cassettes (2000+) - no distributor in a Northstar.

  11. #41
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    Distributor? Are we talking about a Northstar?

  12. #42
    bammer21edm is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    I am about to change the plugs on a 98' Deville. I notice the local Walmart carries Champion platinum. Would be these okay?
    Or do I go to the dealer and pick up Delco plugs at a slight premium? Thanks

  13. #43
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    maeng9981 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Changing spark plugs on a Northstar

    Stick with AC Delco Platinum 41-950. Rockauto has them and is offering rebates. Even without rebates 8 AC Delco plugs are just $40 or so.

  14. #44
    rodnok01's Avatar
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    Ac only or it'll hate you. Aftermarket plugs last a short time then you will get misfires and you'll spend as much anyways fixing the problem. The guy who owned my 98 before me put 99 cent plugs in fried a coil then sold to me cheap. I put ac plugs back in and it runs like a champ.
    I put el cheapos in my 99 PA and fried a coil after 6 months maybe due to resistance in the plugs so I learned the hard way too.

  15. #45
    JoeTahoe is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    A/C Delcos all the way

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