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View Poll Results: Select one if you have had a problem with the headgasket the Northstar V8:

Voters
764. You may not vote on this poll
  • 1993

    18 2.36%
  • 1994

    38 4.97%
  • 1995

    13 1.70%
  • 1996

    40 5.24%
  • 1997

    152 19.90%
  • 1998

    169 22.12%
  • 1999

    171 22.38%
  • 2000

    81 10.60%
  • 2001

    57 7.46%
  • 2002

    43 5.63%
  • 2003

    14 1.83%
  • 2004

    1 0.13%
  • 2005

    4 0.52%
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Originally Posted by N0DIH I hate to say it, I am just soooo glad I bought a Fleetwood with a ...
  1. #136
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by N0DIH View Post
    I hate to say it, I am just soooo glad I bought a Fleetwood with a LT1...... 248K and counting..... Original engine/trans, never opened up.....
    Now THAT is the kind of reliability that Cadillac should have been building into their cars. In other words, Cadillac should never have their own line of engines ever built again. The cars are much better with Chevy motors. Remember the 4100 and even all that 4-6-8 crap of years gone by?

  2. #137
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    It is my opinion, that Cadillac Motor Division should be the standard of quality at GM, setting the entire Quality methology there.

    With the prices on those cars, you are getting an optioned out chevy these days. Nothing more. GM should make a point of buying a Cadillac is a way of life, and for life. This is the car that you can drive confidently for 400K miles. Set the standard. Failures and defects are not optional, nor accepted. The parts need to be tighter quality, and GM can't tell me they don't know how to do it (we got a "polite" butt chewing from a GM Quality exec some years ago, they can talk the talk, but they can't seem to walk the walk at all) GM needs to APPLY what they have learned. 6Sigma needs to be a way of life, not just some program that they use now and then. When a failure occurs, a 5 Phase is done. Ok, cool. NOW APPLY WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM IT. It does NOT go into the file cabinet with all the rest of them. They need to go back and apply every single thing they have learned from a 5 phase. And if a supplier is a repeat problem, they are gone. Find another. GM knows how to play hardball. (if you have ever been in cost negotiations, you will walk funny afterwards....)

    Cadillac needs to set the quality barometer for GM. And it needs to proliferate to the rest of GM. But failures at Cadillac with that hefty premium on parts costs, should NEVER be option. It is slap in the face to the customer, ESPECIALLY the loyal ones who keep coming back.... Eventually GM, they won't come back, they will take business elsewhere. and unfortunately, they are taking it overseas.... Which if frigging wrong, just plain wrong. And honestly, it is the STUPID things that GM is having problems with not the big things. But that is what people see and remember..... Customers rarely if ever forget poor quality that they had to deal with.

    And GM wonders why Toyota is knocking on the door. It should be pretty embarassing to Cadillac that the most reliable Cadillacs have been powered by a 350 Chevy and not a Cadillac V8. And the worst quality Cadillacs are powered by Cadillac engines. That should have everyone who approved those engines fired. Crap guys, I could do a better job running a quality organization than that.

  3. #138
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by N0DIH View Post
    And GM wonders why Toyota is knocking on the door. It should be pretty embarassing to Cadillac that the most reliable Cadillacs have been powered by a 350 Chevy and not a Cadillac V8. And the worst quality Cadillacs are powered by Cadillac engines. That should have everyone who approved those engines fired. Crap guys, I could do a better job running a quality organization than that.
    Or Cadillac should just stick a Chevy motor in EVERYTHING they build. Would it have been objectionable to anyone if instead of a Northstar Cadillacs came with LS-X motors?. Even a 5.3 is a damn good motor. The Chevy motors are more reliable, easier to work on and just as smooth. Not only that but think about all the initial development costs and upgrades done to the Northstar, that money saved would also have made Cadillacs more affordable to the customer OR used to upgrade the quality and components used inside/outside the car. GM really could have made these Cadillacs something that people could keep for a lifetime like they used to with the older Cadillacs instead of the fast depreciating disposable shit piles they have become.

  4. #139
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    That's not exactly true.. and yes it would have been objectionable... GM has been sued (and lost) for doing just this in the past. Some would argue that sticking Chevy engines into Oldsmobiles was the begining of the end for that make.

    For the record:
    1) The 5.3 in a FWD car is just as tight and just as much of a PIA to work on as the Northstar.
    2) The 2000 - 2003 Northstar's are much better (as this poll nicely documents) and the 2004 to present have almost zero issues
    3) The LSx motors were designed with the knowledge that >90% of their use will be in Trucks... These are truck motors and aren't as smooth or as quiet as a North*. They are great truck motors, best in the world... They are NOT luxury car motors.

    Yes the 97/98/99 motors have issues.. the rest of them will last forever, and even in those dark years the vast majority will not suffer head gasket problems.

    The day that GM says sticks a chevy motor into everything is the day that the Caddy division dies.

  5. #140
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by Ur7x View Post
    That's not exactly true.. and yes it would have been objectionable... GM has been sued (and lost) for doing just this in the past. Some would argue that sticking Chevy engines into Oldsmobiles was the begining of the end for that make.

    For the record:
    1) The 5.3 in a FWD car is just as tight and just as much of a PIA to work on as the Northstar.
    2) The 2000 - 2003 Northstar's are much better (as this poll nicely documents) and the 2004 to present have almost zero issues
    3) The LSx motors were designed with the knowledge that >90% of their use will be in Trucks... These are truck motors and aren't as smooth or as quiet as a North*. They are great truck motors, best in the world... They are NOT luxury car motors.

    Yes the 97/98/99 motors have issues.. the rest of them will last forever, and even in those dark years the vast majority will not suffer head gasket problems.

    The day that GM says sticks a chevy motor into everything is the day that the Caddy division dies.
    I had a N* and I've driven trucks with the 5.3 and the 5.3 is a smooth motor. Lets not get to excited about the '04-up Northstars. I'm willing to bet that in '98 there weren't all that many '94's with issues either. Your'e right though, the 5.3 or other LSX motor would have been a tight fit as well but they dont blow head gaskets like the Northstar and they dont have the huge DOHC heads the N*'s have so maybe even if they did blow a gasket the swap may have been able to be done without all the trouble involved with a Northstar. I will agree that the car as whole is a POS and its not just the Northstar..............if thats what you were inferring by "The 5.3 in a FWD car is just as tight and just as much of a PIA to work on as the Northstar", if not, sorry but after owning one and hanging here awhile, nothing will change my mind.

  6. #141
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Wow. This thread kinda makes me feel better considering I own a 96. I was considering starting a similar thread directed at the pre 2000 N* with no HG issues to post year, model and mileage unless its already been done.

  7. #142
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    1999 STS 101,500 miles. HGs, half case seal, bad exhaust cams and mice in the intake. Doesn't get any better than that...

  8. #143
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Looks like the issue was resolved in 2003 and up models with the coarser threads on the bolts.

  9. #144
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by dwight.j.carter View Post
    Looks like the issue was resolved in 2003 and up models with the coarser threads on the bolts.
    Coarser (LS1 like) bolts didn't get there until MY 2004

    As far as I can tell there are several different Northstars
    1) 1993-1995 Short Fine threaded head bolts with Green coolant (few problems)
    2) 1996-1999 Short fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (LOTS, ~70% of the problems, not counting the 1996??? Odd! )
    3) 2000-2003 Long fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (few problems)
    4) 2004-present Long coarse threaded head bolts with Dexcool (almost none...fixed?)

    and there is a
    5) RWD "V" motors have long coarse threads and a closed water jacket and MLS head gaskets
    all of the others have open water jackets.

  10. #145
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by Ur7x View Post
    Coarser (LS1 like) bolts didn't get there until MY 2004

    As far as I can tell there are several different Northstars
    1) 1993-1995 Short Fine threaded head bolts with Green coolant (few problems)
    2) 1996-1999 Short fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (LOTS, ~70% of the problems, not counting the 1996??? Odd! )
    3) 2000-2003 Long fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (few problems)
    4) 2004-present Long coarse threaded head bolts with Dexcool (almost none...fixed?)

    and there is a
    5) RWD "V" motors have long coarse threads and a closed water jacket and MLS head gaskets
    all of the others have open water jackets.
    True but AJ said if you have a 2000 or newer the holes can be re tapped to the coarser threads thus solving the problem indefinetely.

  11. #146
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by Ur7x View Post
    Coarser (LS1 like) bolts didn't get there until MY 2004

    As far as I can tell there are several different Northstars
    1) 1993-1995 Short Fine threaded head bolts with Green coolant (few problems)
    2) 1996-1999 Short fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (LOTS, ~70% of the problems, not counting the 1996??? Odd! )
    3) 2000-2003 Long fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (few problems)
    4) 2004-present Long coarse threaded head bolts with Dexcool (almost none...fixed?)

    and there is a
    5) RWD "V" motors have long coarse threads and a closed water jacket and MLS head gaskets
    all of the others have open water jackets.
    My 96 has Dexcool but has a build date of Dec 95.

  12. #147
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Yes all MY 1996 Northstars got dex... first year for it (in the Northstar)... Interesting that coolant problems didn't occure untill 1997... Hmmm

  13. #148
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    With the cost of dex I plan on draining and refilling my radiator every year or two to keep the fluid fresh.

  14. #149
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    1996 SLS. 170,000 miles. Three stripped bolts by cylinders 3,5 and 2,4. I used Time-sert inserts. Head gasket looked good, but I replaced it at first sign of smoke in exhaust. I wonder how goop in a can fix the problem permanately when the root cause is headbolt failure and the symptom is the head gasket. The goop might temporarily fix the symptom but the problem is that the threads are stripped out of the block.

  15. #150
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    re: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know

    Quote Originally Posted by willbr1 View Post
    I wonder how goop in a can fix the problem permanately when the root cause is headbolt failure and the symptom is the head gasket. The goop might temporarily fix the symptom but the problem is that the threads are stripped out of the block.
    The problem is a combo of "bunched up" gaskets and bolts that have failed in the block causing the head to lift...

    ALL "goop in a can" options have been basically PROVEN NOT TO WORK on this problem.

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