head removal
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, head removal in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; In process of pulling rear head with engine in car for the head gasket job (figure I'll start with the ...
  1. #1
    Pete315 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    head removal

    In process of pulling rear head with engine in car for the head gasket job (figure I'll start with the hard side first). I know it has 10 head bolts but where are the other 3 smaller bolts that have to get removed? the shop manual says you access these from plugs on side of head. For the guys that have removed head while engine is in car, what is the easiest way to get at those 3 bolts?

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  3. #2
    Krashed989's Avatar
    Krashed989 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: head removal

    The three 10mm bolts are around the timing chain. You can see the holes for them in this pic:


    The plugs on the side of the head are to access the chain guide bolts.

  4. #3
    Pete315 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: head removal

    thanks for the great pictures and quick response. I'm sure I'll be back with other questions.

  5. #4
    97EldoCoupe's Avatar
    97EldoCoupe is offline U.S. Patent #8,740,532 - www.studkit.com
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    Re: head removal

    If you plan to do the in-car HG job, oddly enough someone has tried it with studs- and it does work. It's tricky though.

    But very important - tape up the block - the pic above shows some chips in the oil drain-back passages. That could lead to engine failure quickly.


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

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

  6. #5
    Pete315 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: head removal

    To be honest, that's what I'm looking at. When I removed the front cradle bolts and removed the front motor mount, the block really tilts forward. How many inches does stud stick out the block? When I remove head, I could see how much clearance I have? I have noticed though the bottom of the engine is a little wet with oil, not soaked. Where do these Northstar's leak oil the most? What size is the harmonic balancer bolt? is it a 24mm? if so, I want to buy a 6 point socket so I won't strip the head of the bolt. I would love to install the studs. I'm up for the challenge! Luckily I'm in no rush to complete job. My HVAC plastic housing has some piece pieces missing from the heat back there. I might look for a good one and replace it. If I remove that housing, I probably will even have more room(any idea who might have an intact HVAC housing). Let me know Jake. Thanks.

  7. #6
    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: head removal

    what is your plan? timeserts or norms? accessing the timing chains/tensioners is a pain with the motor in car but it is possible.

  8. #7
    97EldoCoupe's Avatar
    97EldoCoupe is offline U.S. Patent #8,740,532 - www.studkit.com
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    Re: head removal

    The studs, on a 93-99 car stand up about 4.06 inches above the deck surface. Take the height of your cylinder head (around what, 4"?) and you will need about 8" total clearance at the lowest point of the block. One of my customers laid the head gasket on top of an upside-down head, put the studs through, started the nuts on the back-side and put the whole set-up into place. This requires the head to be 2" off the block surface. Carefully this can be done. Pete, I like your idea about tilting the engine forward. Not a bad plan at all.


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

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

  9. #8
    Pete315 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: head removal

    I am removing the harmonic balancer and taking the timing cover off so holding the tensioners will be easy. when you drop the front cradle, there is plenty of room to remove the balancer. I was going to use Norms however it looks like I may go the stud route if it's feasible.
    Jake, got a question for you- after the holes are drilled and tapped, can the studs be screwed into the block with the heads and head gaskets in place. if so, I could have the studs placed into the head holes with the nuts in place holding the end of the stud just above the bottom surface of the head. The dowels can hold the head in place while I remove the nuts and screw down each stud into the block. Would this procedure work? What tool do you use to screw down the stud?

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

    Pete - this would work. I'm going to have to make an installation tool for you. It would be tricky because all studs would have to be screwed in at the same time.

    If you're not in a terrible rush, could you please hold off for a short time on your repair? Maybe a day or two?


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

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

  11. #10
    Pete315 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: head removal

    I have weeks if needed. no rush at all.

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

    Let me get to work on an installation tool that will assist in driving the studs in place with the engine in the car. Pete you're going to have to be my test guy here. With 2" of clearance still needed it might be tricky but it has been done. I've got a 94 ETC in the shop right now that's having the engine removed- eyekandyboats.inc's old ride (still a real beauty) - I can have a bit of a look to see what I can help you with. You sir are receiving a small discount on your stud kit for being the first to document using studs in-the-car. I hope you'll post some info on the job as you're going through it. Thank you in advance!


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

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

  13. #12
    Pete315 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: head removal

    best part is I have been recording entire job (of course there is editing or CD would be 30 hours long) with my new flip camera. I've recorded where every sensor goes, what wrenches/sockets to use, the locations of the bolts and the # of bolts to remove parts. I figure with 100,000 members on this site, if I sell the CD for lets say $12, I should clear 1 MILLION DOLLARS. Maybe even an Academy Award.

    ps-not sure what you mean about the 2" clearance but I'm sure you will explain. thanks.

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

    LOL good luck with the mil..... The academy award might be feasible!

    2" clearance - the height the head must be raised over the deck surface in order to position the head/stud assembly above the block for reinstallation..


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

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

  15. #14
    Pete315 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: head removal

    Job is coming along. I work on it an hour or two a day. Surprising, no real headaches yet. Just about to pull the harmonic balancer, then the heads. I believe at least the rear head has been off car already. The 2 rear heater pipes brackets were not secured to the pipes. The heater pipe bracket on the passenger side of right head was broken off(might need a new bracket). I noticed the lower bolt on the brace that goes from tranny to right head drivers side was only half way in(it is in a tight spot but someone was lazy). Finally, someone drew a line on both camshaft gears on the right head. No marks on the left head. I wonder if this car had a timesert job already! I removed 2 headbolts from the left head to see how tight they were. Man were they tight. I'm hoping to find some not as tight. According to the FSM, I don't have to remove the power steering pump to remove the heads. Is that correct?

  16. #15
    tateos's Avatar
    tateos is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: head removal

    I believe the PS pump can stay, but you may want to remove it just to get it out of your way. Yeah - the bolts that are still good REALLY snap when they come loose, and you can very easily tell once you get to the bad ones.

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