Northstar engine water flooded
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Northstar engine water flooded in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; My wife drove our 2001 Eldorado into a flooded street. She did not know how deep and thought she could ...
  1. #1
    Amitayus's Avatar
    Amitayus is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Northstar engine water flooded

    My wife drove our 2001 Eldorado into a flooded street. She did not know how deep and thought she could get through. She was going slowly when the car stalled and would not restart.

    The water was barely deep enough to enter the car when she opened the door. About to the middle of the front bumper. The car would not restart, so we had it towed home.

    I immediately removed the spark plugs and tried to turn over the engine. Just a clicking sound. I replaced the starter with a new one.

    I found water in the intake manifold and in the passages leading to the cylinders. I vacuumed out the water and cleaned everything, replaced the intake manifold, but car still would not turn over. Same clicking sound. The plugs are still out. We only have 60,000 miles on the car. I have checked the cables for corrosion and tightness. Everything seems ok.

    I also repalced the battery. There seems to be a short, when I start to hook up the new battery, there is a spark and it seems the battery cables get a little warm. So I disconnected the new battery and just hook it up for a moment when I try to turn over the engine.

    I drained the oil. No water in it, no smell of gasoline. The electronics all seem ok.

    I love this car and really want to get it running. Any ideas?

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  3. #2
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    You now have a "flood damage" car. Water entered the intake ducting through the lower cold air intake box. The water may have damaged the Mass AirFlow sensor (MAF).My guess is the alternator, which is very low on the front passenger side of the block, is destroyed and its internal voltage regulator is shorted, so every time you try to hook up the battery it sees a dead short to ground. The main transmission control harness has a multi-pin connector down low at the front of the transmission case. The ignition control triggers (CKP - CranKshaft Position sensors) are also on the front side of the block, down about halfway. The A/C compressor and clutch are also very low on the front side of the block. The Vehicle Speed Sensor is down low, on top of the right axle output shaft case.

    This is only the beginning: all those suspension control and speed sensor connectors at all 4 wheel hubs may also be flooded. If water actually entered the car there's a good chance that some under-seat wiring and modules are wet. The brake wear sensors/connectors got wet.

    Basically, every electrical connector "below the water line" needs to be checked for moisture - yes, they're all supposed to be weathertight, but.......

    Bummer.............heck of a way to start, but Welcome Aboard ! ! !

  4. #3
    zonie77 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    If you have comprehensive insurance it should cover this...but they probably will total the car.

  5. #4
    Amitayus's Avatar
    Amitayus is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    Zonie,
    I do have comprehensive insurance and they did total the car. I get enough to buy another one and bought mine back. I have had this car a long time and have an emotional attachment to it. my first Cadillac. It has served us well, and my wife and I love it!

    Had to look a while to find this car, black with black interior. Sweet!

    I want to bring it back to life!


    Submariner 409. Appropriate name to help me!
    Your logic is very sound. A lot of what you mentioned is correct.

    I have the additional input. I bought a "Code Key" and find the following error messages.

    1. P0122 - Throttle pedal position sensor Switch A Circuit Low

    2. P0103 (pd) (MAF) Mass Air Flow or (VAF) Volume Air Flow sensor circuit high

    3. P0122 (pd) Throttle pedal position sensor Switch A Circuit Low (Don't know why it gave the same code twice)

    4. P0340 (pd) Camshaft position sensor and circuit (bank 1) or single sensor circuit malfunction (I have some things disconnected on the top of the engine when I pulled the spark plugs.)

    Is there any chance that the alternator, being frelled, that it is locked up, preventing the engine from turning over?

    I guess it would be best to pull the alternator and see if it is seized. Something seized when Anne hit the water.

    I understand this may be a "process," but, like I said, we love the car. I have it inside my garage and can work on it when I feel like it. Right now I DO feel like it! I am 67 and semi-retired. I have an Astro Van and am able to get around.

    The car looks so right. CD/Radio work fine. Power seats, windows, everything seems to be working. Got the water out of the interior, it is dry and smell free. Looks like it always did . . . apologies for rambling.

    Additional help gratefully accepted.

  6. #5
    Amitayus's Avatar
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    I talked with a Cadillac mechanic who suggested the engine should turn over easily with the plugs out and the serpentine belt removed. It will not move when I put a 3/4" socket (1/2" pull handle) on the crankshaft pulley and try to turn it in either direction.

    He thinks maybe I have a bent rod.

    Hoping to have him come look at it this weekend. Think that I'll go have a beer or three.

  7. #6
    STSS is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    Not sure what "Code Key" you bought, but the code reader is built into the car. Should be a sticky in the "how to" section.

    I have had some issues with crankshaft position sensor codes in the past (bad harness I think) and while the car can normally crank over when the code is set for one sensor, if you have an error with both sensors, the car may not crank at all.

    Pull the serp belt off to see if it will turn over without the alternator....

    Sounds like you either have the connectors off of the TPS and MAF or the water trashed them... I would lean towards them being toast, though I wouldnt expect that to keep it from cranking.

  8. #7
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    If you're determined to try and resurrect the car, talk to Jake up in www.northstarperformance.com. He builds Northstars.

    If the engine will not turn with the plugs out, you have serious mechanical damage. Water damage.

    I'll go on record as advising that, with the car being submerged up to the middle of the bumpers, you now have many more problems to solve than just a broken engine. Many more.

    Yes, your car has a complete built-in code reader/scanner/memory system - right from the factory.

  9. #8
    Amitayus's Avatar
    Amitayus is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    Quote Originally Posted by submariner409 View Post
    If you're determined to try and resurrect the car, talk to Jake. He builds Northstars.

    If the engine will not turn with the plugs out, you have serious mechanical damage. Water damage.

    I'll go on record as advising that, with the car being submerged up to the middle of the bumpers, you now have many more problems to solve than just a broken engine. Many more.

    Yes, your car has a complete built-in code reader/scanner/memory system - right from the factory.

    I have bought the car from the insurance company for $492. I thought about parting it out, but don't have the heart to see it stripped. Since the insurance payout is still in process, maybe I should just accept the $492 from the insurance company and be done with it. Go find another one. Or something else.

  10. #9
    97EldoCoupe's Avatar
    97EldoCoupe is offline U.S. Patent #8,740,532 - www.studkit.com
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    Amitayus - welcome, and good choice. Never scrap a black on black Eldorado, if you can help it. If the insurance co. has paid you enough, I have brand new 2002 casted Northstar engines (never installed, never built, still in GM packaging) that I'm assembling. Email me at info@northstarperformance.com and we'll work on a good deal.

    Follow Sub's advice and clean/check your electrical connections, dry everything out, and make sure you can spin that engine by hand before you get that starter going... A starter will snap/bend connecting rods without hesitation. Your hand on the end of a 3/4" wrench will know when it hits a tight spot. If it won't turn, there's something wrong internally.

    -Jake


    Need parts for your Northstar Engine? www.northstarperformance.com

    Jake Wiebe, developer of the SureGrip™ Cylinder Head Stud Kit

  11. #10
    Skiller.'s Avatar
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    Jake, I only now just noticed your location in relation to Buffalo. You're very close, which is good to know. If I ever need anything, you will be first on my list.

  12. #11
    97EldoCoupe's Avatar
    97EldoCoupe is offline U.S. Patent #8,740,532 - www.studkit.com
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    Thanks Skiller. Good to have contacts in Buffalo as well. Guess where my first U.S. shop will be if I set up in America....


    Need parts for your Northstar Engine? www.northstarperformance.com

    Jake Wiebe, developer of the SureGrip™ Cylinder Head Stud Kit

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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    Good to hear

  14. #13
    97EldoCoupe's Avatar
    97EldoCoupe is offline U.S. Patent #8,740,532 - www.studkit.com
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    Amitayus - you did right by removing the plugs before trying to turn it over. But I'd like to mention that if a cylinder was full of water, I'm not sure that it would evacuate the cylinder quick enough vs. starter rotation speed to prevent bottom end damage. Those pistons come up a pretty good rate of speed even just with the starter.

    My advice would be to drain the crankcase and refill with fresh oil as soon as you get that water out. And get the engine spinning as soon as possible before rust begins. Spray a bit of WD-40 or the like through the plug holes or intake ports, and crank it over (again with the plugs out) once it's rotating freely by hand. It doesn't take long at all for corrosion to form. Just my .02 - I'd hate to see what could be still a good engine go to the scrap heap.


    Need parts for your Northstar Engine? www.northstarperformance.com

    Jake Wiebe, developer of the SureGrip™ Cylinder Head Stud Kit

  15. #14
    Amitayus's Avatar
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    Quote Originally Posted by 97EldoCoupe View Post
    Amitayus - you did right by removing the plugs before trying to turn it over. But I'd like to mention that if a cylinder was full of water, I'm not sure that it would evacuate the cylinder quick enough vs. starter rotation speed to prevent bottom end damage. Those pistons come up a pretty good rate of speed even just with the starter.

    My advice would be to drain the crankcase and refill with fresh oil as soon as you get that water out. And get the engine spinning as soon as possible before rust begins. Spray a bit of WD-40 or the like through the plug holes or intake ports, and crank it over (again with the plugs out) once it's rotating freely by hand. It doesn't take long at all for corrosion to form. Just my .02 - I'd hate to see what could be still a good engine go to the scrap heap.

    I greatly appreciate your advice. However the engine will not turn. I tried by putting a wrench on the crankshaft pully. Could not budge it. I think it has bottom end damage.

    Trying to restart the engine when Anne first hit the water could have bent a rod. I don't blame her for the damage, it was impossible to see how the road dipped down and the water depth increased.

    My concern is that even if I replace the engine, there are still a lot of sensors and gizmos that will also need to be replaced. I just had an ABS module replaced on my Astro van and it cost $1,000. Door lock modules were $270 each. Fortunately that was under warranty. I wonder how many similar items were damaged by immersion?

  16. #15
    97EldoCoupe's Avatar
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    Re: Northstar engine water flooded

    I don't know but if I were you I would not give up on that Eldo. I'm sorry but I absolutely love black 2 door Caddys.....

    Get everything working one by one, maybe even leave the engine alone for now - start on the other stuff- get the rest working - and if it seems worth it, then deal with the engine...??


    Need parts for your Northstar Engine? www.northstarperformance.com

    Jake Wiebe, developer of the SureGrip™ Cylinder Head Stud Kit

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