Stud Kit Success!!
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Stud Kit Success!! in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Hi All, Been awhile, but I've got good news - I have successfully completed a stud kit head gasket repair ...
  1. #1
    olsonscottm is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): 1998 Deville
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    Stud Kit Success!!

    Hi All,

    Been awhile, but I've got good news - I have successfully completed a stud kit head gasket repair on my '98 Deville.

    It took two months between waiting on parts, other extra-curricular activities, and traveling for work, but I stuffed the engine in yesterday, finished hooking everything up today, and other than a couple of head-scratching moments she fired off just fine.

    At first, it wouldn't start. I would turn the key and nothing. Turns out I didn't have the transmission cable back in the original position and the transmission was actually in reverse when the column shifter was in park. Got that fixed and then I didn't have any oil pressure.

    I think I still need to replace my oil pressure sender because I get the oil pressure idiot light at idle after driving at highway speeds. Tap the throttle a little and the light goes out.

    I remember several comments about the friction-driven oil pump so that's where I went first. I had installed the crankshaft balancer per the factory service manual, but it was evidently still too loose. Once I took the right front wheel off, removed the splash shield, and tightened the bolt some more (maybe 3/4 or 1 complete turn is all), I fired it up and got oil pressure.

    Took it for a 30 mile drive and changed the oil. Will change the oil again next weekend after I have about 500 miles on it. Hopefully I didn't get anything into the engine that will cause premature failure.

    Thanks to all the folks on the forum that have answered questions (especially Ranger), provided insight, and gave me the courage to try the repair myself. And a big kudos to Jake and his stud kit. He was always willing to answer questions and give advice. Jake, if you read this, Thanks!

    If anybody has any questions, feel free to ask. I will try and post a few pictures later this week showing the project.

    Thanks again, all!!

    Scott
    Palmer, AK
    1998 Cadillac Deville

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  3. #2
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!



    Be very sure that the crankshaft balancer is torqued to the proper specs (quite high as I recall). As you know, it drives the oil pump. Don't want that puppy slipping .

  4. #3
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    You're very welcome Scott, My staff and I thank you as well! I hope you get years of pleasure out of your '98 Deville. It wouldn't hurt changing the oil and filter yet again. Even a very short time without oil pressure can start engine wear, hopefully nothing began to wear yet. It only takes 5 psi to get that oil pressure warning light out, at 2000 RPM it is supposed to be pumping oil at 35 psi. 5 psi will turn the oil pressure warning light off., but will likely cause damage at 2000 rpms....

    5 psi at idle minimum
    35 psi @2000 rpms

    Most Northstars, when still cold (ambient temp), pump 65-70 psi at speed, and sit at around 8 psi at idle when warm.

  5. #4
    Taspeed's Avatar
    Taspeed is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): 97 Cadillac SLS
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    congrats..i'm right behind you. I should have mine together late tomorrow. Been a couple of months for pretty much the same reasons.

  6. #5
    olsonscottm is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): 1998 Deville
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    Taspeed - I wish you all the best luck. Nothing like hearing that motor turn over and run after having it spread all over the shop!

    Jake - Thanks for the info on the oil pressure. When I first start it up, I don't get the oil light, I can drive for awhile and when I slow down to idle I still don't get the oil light. But, after a period of time (I don't know how much) when I slow down to an idle, I get the oil light.

    I changed the oil pressure sending unit tonight and I'll see how that works for me tomorrow. I have a 45 mile commute (one-way) so I should be able to rack up the miles and see just how well I did.

    Again, thanks for all your help, and I'm spreading the word about the stud kit!

    Scott
    Palmer, AK
    1998 Deville

  7. #6
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    Hey Scott, Charity is planning to call you back soon...

    I just completed the new jig to manufacture the tap / drill fixture about 15 minutes ago. This will speed up production and ensure accuracy of the hole spacing. So who ever is still waiting for their kit, there's a reason there was a minor delay. There's quite a few kits out the door at 2:30 PM

    Rebuilt and reconditioned engines are available for anyone who just wants to do a swap. 3 are due for shipping now, as soon as the Customs office will clear the shipment. We have a meeting with a Wilson's Custom's Brokers this afternoon to hopefully take care of thise issues.

    Be careful when ordering from accurate engines, I'm sure their quality is good but I know of someone who contacted them and they said the engines had new camshaft bearings as well- if they know that much about Northstars I'd be careful about ordering one from them. Northstar cams run on the head without bearings. They also advertise new camshafts but when I called to confirm this, they said no, camshafts are a dealer only option and cost over $400 each (around there) and said they install good used ones. So do I, but I won't advertise new ones.

    Also, one customer from California had sent up his engine for us to do the work on, from a 2000 Caddy. We did the seals, head gaskets and studded the block, and it's being shipped back. The cost is approx. $1000 for the labor and parts (shipping extra).

    Northstar Performance is growing rapidly, and we owe a big thank you to all of our customers who have done business with us and those who have had patience when things don't always go as planned.

  8. #7
    olsonscottm is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    Jake,

    It's been a pleasure working with you, even if shipping to Alaska was bugger!

    I'm glad you've invested the time, energy, and money to get Northstar Performance where it is, my hat's off to you.

    I'm sure any improvement you made to the drill/tap jig will only speed production. As I told you, I spent quite a bit of time trying to make sure the holes were lined up and tapped square to the block.

    I changed the oil pressure sending unit last night and it didn't fix my oil light at hot idle. I'm going to go crank down on the crankshaft balancer a little more and hope that helps. If not, I suspect I've got worn bearings.

    If I do have worn bearings, is that something that can be done in the car or do I have to pull the engine again? And do you think it would be main bearings or rod bearings? Probably should just replace them all while the pan is dropped.

    On the bright side, I put my foot into it a couple of time tonight on the way home - what a blast!! And it didn't even get hot!

    Thanks again, Jake, and anybody out there thinking about inserts or studs, go with studs!

    Scott
    Palmer, AK
    1998 Deville

  9. #8
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    What brand/grade of engine oil are you running?

  10. #9
    olsonscottm is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    I'm using Wal-Mart 5w30.

    Also, I went and cranked on the crankshaft balancer bolt some more and got another 1/4 turn out of it. It seemed to help this morning so I'm going to try and crank it up a little bit more.

    Can you get the crankshaft balancer bolt too tight?

    Scott

  11. #10
    olsonscottm is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    Okay, so I went and took the crankshaft balancer bolt out. I didn't remove the balancer itself. I put the bolt back in and torqued it to 37 lb-ft. Then I turned the bolt another 120 deg. This time it took all I had (and a small cheater bar) to get the 120 deg.

    I'll find out tomorrow if it works.

    Scott

  12. #11
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    .............look at your other thread on the same subject - I just replied to that bolt question.

  13. #12
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    Scott, I don't mean to be rude in any way - GET RID OF THAT OIL!

    Walmart brand stuff is ok for your lawn mower, your Honda, your Toyota, sure. This is one of the most advanced American engines ever produced.

    Quaker State is all I use, Valvoline will be fine, Castrol (not my choice but GM uses it), Mobil 1, but get that cheap stuff out.

    Oil, when warm, thins out- and from my experiences long ago, the cheaper the oil (low quality name brands) the more it thins out. The Northstars run at 225-230 degrees at times, and you need good oil to keep things lubed at those temps.

    Please take my advice and see if it helps any.

    Oh, you can snap a crankshaft balancer bolt. Not very easily, but it can be done. If you do, it will likely turn right out with a hammer and a punch.

  14. #13
    tateos's Avatar
    tateos is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    Jake:

    I've been using Walmart conventional and Syn oil with no problems - yet - changing every ~5,000 miles.

    olsonscottm:

    I think you never had the pulley on all the way - you were pressing it on more and more as you tightened the bolt, but maybe never got a true pinch fit to the oil pump drive. I bought a pulley installer at the recommendation of someone else here on the forums - the followed the 37 + 120 you wrote about - worked just fine for me - even with Wally oil.

    I must say, however, that I use the recommended oil weight of 10W-30 - the 5W30 you are using might be too thin to maintain proper oil pressure at idlel

  15. #14
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    I have also been using Walmart Super Tech oil for years. Walmart does not make their own oil. Don't knock it just because it is sold by Walmart and does not have a big name on it. If you do some research on it you'll find that it is rather highly rated. I switched only recently because I found a better sale and it was on an SL rated oil (new stuff is SM with less ZDDP), so I bought 10 cases.

  16. #15
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Stud Kit Success!!

    Just from my observations, the cheaper oils like that tend to thin out more when the engine is warm/hot.

    Nobody has to take my advice, I may be wrong. But it's just my .02. My cars have always been running the $4/quart stuff, not the $2/quart stuff. From my supercharged Oldsmobile LSS to the 403 powered Parisienne, to the 455 Olds Delta, the trucks, and all the Northstar toys. Cheap insurance. Oil has a big job to do - 6000 RPMs under load at 230 degrees; it has to maintain a film between the bearings and the crank, the lifters and the head & cams...etc.

    I think Sub agrees with me on this one 100%.

    Drain that oil out of the crankcase at 200 degrees engine temp. Do this with Super Tech oil. Then do this with Quaker or Valvoline. You should notice if you get some on your finger how the cheap stuff seems to have hardly any lubricity and it's really breaking down. The other stuff is still slick and of course thinner at those temps, but doesn't drip like water. I've seen the difference and I'm convinced, but to each his own.

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