Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, N* engine removal - newbee in Cadillac Engine Discussion; Hi All!
A while ago I remember seeing a post on one of the Cadillac boards (this one, I believe) ...
A while ago I remember seeing a post on one of the Cadillac boards (this one, I believe) detailing the removal sequence for the N* engine. I have a 93 Seville with the head gasket problem. I remember the post detailing things like leaving the air conditioning system intact and being able to remove the drive train from the bottom in like four hours with the aid of a lift. Being new here, I have looked long and hard for a way to search this board but have come up empty. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Yes, there are lots of threads detailing drivetrain removal, but your best bet would be to look on eBay and find a GM/Helm Factory Service Manual (or www.helminc.com) or subscribe your car for a year or 3 to www.alldatadiy.com .
That way you have all the procedures as well as torque settings and diagrams, including electrical. For a first-timer it will take 2 days to get the drivetrain on the rollers, 4 days to do the machine work, and 2 days back in. Take your time and check everything twice. If you had no excess oil consumption problems or leaks, leave the lower end alone. It's bulletproof, and machine shops equipped to handle the crank and rods are very few and far between. GM does not even recommend machining the crank or rods - replacement and BIG $$$$.
Four hours is an experienced time. The first time I did it, it took me 3 days, second time was 1 day, and third time was 7 hours (including eating lunch and waiting a couple hours for a pallet jack to arrive).
Even the Helms FSM doesn't go into very much detail. It tells you what to disconnect, but not how or why. So you have to use your own judgment for most of it. My advice is to go out and buy some penetrating lubricant (ZEP 45 or something) and a bottle of anti-seize prior to doing the job. The car has been together like that for 16 years, chances are it wants to stay together like that rather than cooperate with you. The anti-seize can be put on everything but the head bolts (or studs) when reassembling. The object is to make it as easy as possible for yourself if you have to dig into it again.
To leave the A/C intact you're going to have to remove the alternator and the bracket just below the alternator. As you're lowering the cradle, you will gain the clearance and slack you need to get the compressor out of the way. You might have to remove the intake manifold and disconnect the positive cable from the starter as well because with it connected it will be looped around the A/C tubing when you drop the cradle. The intake manifold will be no big deal at that point anyway because you will have already disconnected pretty much everything from it, save for a couple of small coolant hoses, so it will be just 4 bolts and the hoses and it will be out.
The thread you saw may have been on a different forum.
The wiring on the 93 is harder to remove. You will spend a fair amount of time carefully removing it. As other people said, the first time takes much longer. Don't rush it, keep your parts separated so you don't waste time when you reinstall them.
Or you could repair them in the car as I do. There is PLENTY of room and it's a lot easier than taking a chance on ruining your wiring harness, not to mention all the time you save by not messing with unhooking everything.
I had no choice to bump this thread because Caddy forums won't let me send PM's.
Is there any write-up on here explaining any details of doing the repair with the engine in the car? I see that you mention it several times in several different threads that it can be done without too many problems. I have also see your brief YouTube videos. What is the hardest part of doing it that way? Do I have to evac the A/C system still?
I'm near Detroit but I just can't afford to spend $2100USD to have Jake do it at his shop plus the cost of getting the car there.
Automobile(s): 1997 ETC (GAVE TO STEPSON 2011), 2000 DTS (RIP)
FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ
Re: N* engine removal - newbee
Here's my thread, in case you or anyone else is interested. I had a challenges, and made a few mistakes, which I documented, but in the end, things worked out great, and I drove the car to work today - I'm just shy of 160K miles.
I would think doing it in the car would be next to impossible. Mainly because to set the timing you need access to the front of then engine. You might be able to tilt the engine forward enough by loosening the majority of the bolts and do it that way but I would say setting timing would be next to impossible with the engine in the car. Removal isnt as bad as it sounds. My biggest problem was reinstalling the steering wheel back believe it or not. It almost seems like it was press fitted onto the rack. I believe every cuss word I knew came flying out of my mouth that day. I'm not looking forward to this particular part of the job honestly :-( when I have to redo some of the things that were done wrong the first time. I too will be removing my engine yet again it seems.
There is a lot of personal opinion on this. Here's what I understand from the forums:
Jake pulls the engine from the top:
Pros: able to change oil pan gasket and half case seal
Cons: hard to reach some bolts so finding the combination of extensions/sockets/swivels is time consuming. Somewhat tricky to pull out? (Jake keeps the tools set up for next job,this is his job and he has developed techniques to do it this way) Engine hoist needed. Engine stand needed.
Mike Lawson does in the car:
Pros: less space needed, don't have to disconnect as much
Cons: Harder to set timing, hard to work over the fender, hard to drill/tap the rear deck, hard to install rear head if you use studs.
(Mike does this as a job and similar to Jake, he has done it many times and has his techniques developed)
Dropping the cradle:
Pros: This is the way it was designed to come out. Easy to get at everything and easy to set cam timing. Easy to do rear head. No engine stand needed. Less chance of screwing up something.
Cons:More things to disconnect. AC may be disconnected (it may be possible to pull without disco) More space required. Engine hoist needed.
I gave you a quick run down of the pro's and cons. My recommendation for someone doing one for themselves is drop the cradle and do it right. Trying to do it in the car is possible and does get done but for one job it is definitely the harder way.
+1 for dropping the cradle - don't let it intimidate you, I dropped the cradle on my first N* and COULD NOT believe how easy it was to disassemble/reassemble (tedious but easy). It's almost always easier if you do it the way it was designed to be done.