Priming the oil pump
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Priming the oil pump in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Well the head gasket job from HELL is coming to an end (I hope), I'll give you the short version ...
  1. #1
    chacenbra is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Priming the oil pump

    Well the head gasket job from HELL is coming to an end (I hope), I'll give you the short version of my story,

    in June of 08 I bought a beautiful 99 DeVille with 125k miles on it I put 5000 miles on it between June and October, everything was great, then about 3 weeks before Halloween I was heading to home depot to get decorations and my car over heated, so I went through the motions replacing the thermostat, water pump, radiator etc. ended up taking it to the dealer and they said it was the head gaskets I loved the car way to much to get rid of it, so I began ponying up funds to do the job myself.

    Pulled the motor for the first time in November of 08 got the gaskets replaced put the motor back in started the car and oil began dumping out of the half case (to this day I have NO idea why)
    Pulled the motor back out and sealed the half case (again) put the motor back in hit the key KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK, no oil pressure.
    Dropped the cradle out again found out that a small (like microscopic almost) pebble had got in the oil pump and scored the pump "housing" also 1 of the T chain tensioner s had gone out, so I replaced that as well as my TCC.

    Now the motor is back in again and is pretty much ready to start, all I need to do is hook the exhaust up AND.... *prime the oil pump* now I know that you either need to pack the oil pump or double fill the oil and run the car for a few seconds, now I'm wondering if I can just manually turn the crank a few times to prime the pump, or maybe just crank the motor (without the plug wires hooked up) I'm just trying to find the most risk free way to do this because as you can see I have had ALOT of problems with this car.

    Sorry for the long post guys but thank you for all the help and patience you have givin me

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  3. #2
    smooththg6969's Avatar
    smooththg6969 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    im not quite sure about this but I think you just pull the plug supplying power to the ignition module try to start the car(it wont start) and let the engine turn over a few times. don't take my word for wait on a second opinion.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, stick on fender vents
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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    Put 11 quarts of oil in the crankcase, check everything, and start the car. DO NOT rev it up. As soon as the oil light goes out or your oil pressure gauge reads Normal or 40+ pounds, shut down and drain the oil to the proper 7.5 quart level: halfway up the dipstick hashmark. Now start up and check everything again and try to go for a half hour drive on flat roads at a steady speed of 45 -50. Come home, shut down, let the engine cool, check everything including coolant and oil level. Later, check the transmission fluid level with the engine running in P because there will be NO fluid on the dipstick with the engine off: the transmission is a dry sump unit.

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    MrEldo97 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    I've always packed my oil pumps with petroleum jelly to prime them. Works like a charm every time.

  6. #5
    chacenbra is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    Quote Originally Posted by submariner409 View Post
    Put 11 quarts of oil in the crankcase, check everything, and start the car. DO NOT rev it up. As soon as the oil light goes out or your oil pressure gauge reads Normal or 40+ pounds, shut down and drain the oil to the proper 7.5 quart level: halfway up the dipstick hashmark. Now start up and check everything again and try to go for a half hour drive on flat roads at a steady speed of 45 -50. Come home, shut down, let the engine cool, check everything including coolant and oil level. Later, check the transmission fluid level with the engine running in P because there will be NO fluid on the dipstick with the engine off: the transmission is a dry sump unit.
    So I do have to start the car? I cant just crank it over... Okay wish me luck!

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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    The problem arises with the Northstar oil pump: it's a gerotor style, not positive displacement meshed gear style, so it requires a liquid filled suction tube as the pump will not pick up oil if dry. The pump is above the oil level in the pan, not submerged like most, so the pickup tube has a ball check valve in it to prevent the pump's losing prime. The oil overfill is the cure for a Northstar which has lost prime due to a dirt chip under the check valve - the overfill floods the pump, the oil flows, removes the chip, and you then drain down to normal level.

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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    I'm not sure if 11 qts is enough. The Guru always said 16.

  9. #8
    32vmonte is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    I filled my new pump with oil and worked it around before I installed it. When I went to start the car I used a hand pump in a jug of oil and pumped it into the oil cooler lines. I also filled the oil filter up all the way before installation. I pumped about 3 quarts into the cooler line then gave up cause i was making a mess. It worked great tho.

    I have a push button start on the car so I didn't even put the key in and turned it over for 30 sec. x2 then started it up and let it run while I watched the cam through the oil fill to see if it had oil spewing off of the lifter. (I have no oil press. light in the monte the N* is in)

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    chacenbra is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    Well I ended up having to stay late at work today so I didnt get to work on the caddy, but I have tomarrow off so hopefully I will get to start it then...

    I'll report back after the car runs.

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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    I always fill the pump with some GM EOS and spin the pump by hand before installing it. I've never had a problem with the pumps picking up the oil. I have run across it a couple of times where an air pocket will remain in the oil system for a split second and the oil light will flash once or twice. As for the oil pumps themselves, they're a very good design and hardly ever wear out. I don't even recommend replacing them unless there's been some sort of wear occuring in the engine. Take it apart, there's not much to wear out. No scratches? Re-assemble and re-install. The oil pumps flow oil like mad. A few seconds of cranking and most of the system will have oil. If you have the oil cooler, it would be a good idea to fill the cooler lines with oil or push oil through the system prior to cranking. Most Devilles don't have the cooler. The only 99 and older Deville I've seen with the cooler was a Concours and it's still sitting in my parking area waiting for the owner to come pick it up.

    Chacen I'm glad you found the problem for the oil pressure issue.

  12. #11
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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    I put in 7 1/2 quarts oil. I never removed my oil pump or crank to idler/intermediate gear chain - I saw no reason to do either. I did nothing to prime the oil system, except what the manual said, which was to disconnect the ignition module pugs and crank the engine for the prescribed time. I saw the oil light turn off, and good oil pressure, very quickly, except apparently to the lifters, which clattered slightly for around 5 minutes. I did use some assembly lube on the cams and lifters, even though the manual says there is no need to use anything but engine oil, even there.

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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    Judicious use of assembly lube on cam lobes, lifters, chains, slippers and wrist pins is the mark of a careful engine builder. Maybe not entirely necessary, but nevertheless it's extra insurance during that initial 30-50 revolutions during which the new engine fills with pressurized oil. Peace of mind.

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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    Oh...yeah - you just reminded me - I also used that lube on the cam drive chain tensioners and guides - I had forgotten about that.

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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    You build stuff ----- Google "alpha molykote".

    I still have an olive drab can of molybdenum disulfide (micro-powder) high pressure lubricant from my old diesel sub days - the torpedomen used it in Mk.14 steam torpedo turbine maintenance. Very slick stuff. I mix a half-teaspoon with 6 ounces of 40W marine diesel lube oil and use it for assembly lube.

  16. #15
    chacenbra is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Priming the oil pump

    Okay guys so I had a chance to start my caddy today!

    I put 16 qts of oil in, started the car and it took about 30 seconds for the oil pressure light to go off (it was the longest 30 seconds of my life) I then turned the car off and drained the oil out until I got it to half way up the dipstick.

    All seems to be well and Im planning on taking the car on a 100 mile trip on thanks giving to go see my girlfriends family but between now and then I will be driving the crap out of the car to make sure everything is going to hold up.

    One question, why does the timing case require a gasket? I mean the oil pump sits at the bottom of the T-case but the oil pump sits ABOVE oil level so it would be my understanding that there is no standing oil in the T-case, also how do the timing chains get lubrication?

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