Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks! in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I hear a lot of people complaining (non-Caddy people) about how with a POS engine like a Northstar, you have ...
  1. #1
    97EldoCoupe is offline U.S. Patent #8,740,532 - www.studkit.com
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    Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    I hear a lot of people complaining (non-Caddy people) about how with a POS engine like a Northstar, you have to tear the engine apart to get at the starter. Mechanics especially.

    1. It's as simple as removing the intake manifold and
    2. You don't need to remove the intake on 95-99's.

    I just replaced one on a '98 STS and made record time (for me). 45 minutes start to finish.

    How? Leave fuel lines connected. Leave the heated TB hoses intact. Brake booster vacuum line left intact.

    Simply remove the intake bolts, the ground wire to the fuel rail, remove the bolt holding the fuel rail to the coolant crossover, and prop the one end of the intake up by the P/S pump. With careful hands and small tools you can have the starter out in 20 minutes, without damaging anything. Of course, disconnect the battery first.

    All you have to watch out for is the intake ports- don't let any dirt, debris, or small parts fall in. And don't let the fuel rail/lines kink anywhere.

    I've heard labor times of up to 9 hours. The day I'd pay someone $900 labor to replace my starter, is the day I will declare insanity.

    Just a note to anyone who may need this done in the near future, beware of shops who charge too much (GM techs- I know the dealerships set standards and I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone)- if you can't get quotes of 4 hours or less I'd say take a bit of time after work and do it yourself. An unexperienced individual could easily do it in 2 hours.

    The guy I changed this starter for had his alternator replaced in St. Catharines Ontario and it costed him $1400.00. Liquid cooled, a bit of a pain, but still an insanely high price. I don't like to see people taken advantage of.
    mtflight and mtflight like this.

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    bigtone's Avatar
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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    I've replaced 2 intake plenums on 2000+ the same way, without removing the fuel rails, by swinging the passenger side of the intake up. I posted a few times about doing it that way, but it seems most guys would rather remove the rails.

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    Kick94sts is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    When my 94's starter went out it was like an hour labor at the mechs. I was afraid right away lol.

  5. #4
    KHE
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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    I was at a party a few years back and some cretin was carrying on how he got charged $1800.00 to replace his starter. He began to ridicule the location of the starter, etc. I asked him, "Where would you suggest that GM locate the starter" and he said, "In the normal location like on every other car. What were those idiots thinking?". I told him there was no room to package a starter in the conventional location in a FWD chassis. GM Engineers located it in the valley as it was free space. The additional benefits were that the starter stayed clean, cool, and dry since it was not located next to a hot exhaust manifold.

    He didn't want to accept that and I told him that I removed the intake manifold on one of my Northstars in 30 minutes. If I had to replace the starter, figure an additional 15-30 minutes. I then told him the dealer saw him coming and ripped him off and the labor charge should not have been more than one hour. He shut his mouth after that...

  6. #5
    TryMe96Z is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    When following this process is it necessary to replace the intake gasket?

    My 96' STS runs like a champ at 209k, though it has a minor starting issue at the moment.

  7. #6
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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    i believe that N* intake seals are reusable if they're in good condition
    so usually no replacement is necessary, i think
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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    On my 00 DHS they are blue silicone, if they aren't damaged I'd reuse them.

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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    Both plenum replacements I've done I reused the intake gaskets. No issues.

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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    New style intake manifold port seals...........

  11. #10
    strabo40 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    I just wanted to say thanks and to bump this thread. I just finished installing a starter in a 1996 Cadillac Deville and would like to add a couple of things here. I tried to leave the fuel lines connected and the brake booster line and another harder vacuum line, but was not able to prop the intake up enough to get to it. The hardest thing to do on this was to disconnect the fuel lines. There was so much dirt and oil in there that the quick disconnect tool couldn't get all the way in to release the fuel line. I sprayed it with some degreaser/oil that I use on my bicycle and this helped.

    I'm pretty well mechanically inclined, but far from a professional mechanic. This is the first time I've removed the intake, so it took a total of about 2 hours to remove enough stuff to be able to prop up the intake. This included removing the fuel rail. Removing the starter was no big deal once I could get my hands in there.

    I put the new starter back on and buttoned everything back up. This took about 30 minutes. Putting it all back together was a piece of cake. If I have to do this again, I'm sure I can get it all completed in under an hour and half.

    Thanks again to 97Eldo for the write up.

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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    " CAUTION: Do not replace the intake manifold gaskets after intake manifold removal. The gaskets are reusable. The gaskets should only be replaced if the plastic housing or rubber seals are damaged."

    INFORMATION
    Bulletin No.: 00-06-01-026C
    Date: February 03, 2010
    Subject: Intake Manifold Inspection/Replacement After Severe Internal Engine Damage
    Models:
    2010 and Prior Passenger Cars and Trucks (Including Saturn)
    2010 and Prior HUMMER H2, H3
    2009 and Prior Saab 9-7XSupercede:
    This bulletin is being revised to include additional model years. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 00-06-01-026B (Section 06 - Engine).When replacing an engine due to internal damage, extreme care should be taken when transferring the intake manifold to the new Goodwrench service engine long block. Internal damage may result in the potential discharge of internal engine component debris in the intake manifold via broken pistons and/or bent, broken, or missing intake valves. After removing the intake manifold from the engine, the technician should carefully inspect all of the cylinder head intake ports to see if the valve heads are still present and not bent. Usually when the valve heads are missing or sufficiently bent, internal engine component debris will be present to varying degrees in the intake port of the cylinder head. If this debris is present in any of the cylinder head intake ports, the intake manifold should be replaced. This replacement is required due to the complex inlet runner and plenum configuration of most of the intake manifolds, making thorough and complete component cleaning difficult and nearly impossible to verify complete removal of debris. Re-installation of an intake manifold removed from an engine with deposits of internal engine component debris may result in the ingestion of any remaining debris into the new Goodwrench service engine. This may cause damage or potential failure of the new service engine.

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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    Why would you not change the intake manifold gaskets? Its beyond me...I did my intake plenum and i bought Felpro intake gaskets for $12 for the set of 8..Yes i understand they are reusable but thats if you dont wanna buy them..I see no advantage to reusing them besides saving a few bucks..
    97EldoCoupe and 97EldoCoupe like this.

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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    Quote Originally Posted by strabo40 View Post
    I just wanted to say thanks and to bump this thread. I just finished installing a starter in a 1996 Cadillac Deville and would like to add a couple of things here. I tried to leave the fuel lines connected and the brake booster line and another harder vacuum line, but was not able to prop the intake up enough to get to it. The hardest thing to do on this was to disconnect the fuel lines. There was so much dirt and oil in there that the quick disconnect tool couldn't get all the way in to release the fuel line. I sprayed it with some degreaser/oil that I use on my bicycle and this helped.

    I'm pretty well mechanically inclined, but far from a professional mechanic. This is the first time I've removed the intake, so it took a total of about 2 hours to remove enough stuff to be able to prop up the intake. This included removing the fuel rail. Removing the starter was no big deal once I could get my hands in there.

    I put the new starter back on and buttoned everything back up. This took about 30 minutes. Putting it all back together was a piece of cake. If I have to do this again, I'm sure I can get it all completed in under an hour and half.

    Thanks again to 97Eldo for the write up.
    i replaced my plenum boot awhile back. i just took the fuel rail and propped it away far enough without damaging the lines. hooked a bungie cord to it and conncected to the hood strut! didnt bother with disconnecting fuel lines.. a tad easier i guess.
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    97EldoCoupe is offline U.S. Patent #8,740,532 - www.studkit.com
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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    Quote Originally Posted by postman2000 View Post
    Why would you not change the intake manifold gaskets? Its beyond me...I did my intake plenum and i bought Felpro intake gaskets for $12 for the set of 8..Yes i understand they are reusable but thats if you dont wanna buy them..I see no advantage to reusing them besides saving a few bucks..
    It's an old thread, but Charlie you're right. The seals (blue in color from factory) tend to shrink over time. For the few dollars it takes, change them. On 95-99's the gaskets become hard/brittle. Definitely change those.

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    Re: Starter Replacement - It's not as bad as everyone thinks!

    Hi,
    I see where you said 95-99's intake don't have to be removed. How do I get to the starter on a 96 Seville out without removing the intake? Isn't it inside the intake manifold? I'm comfortable with tools, but not sure how to take it out without removing the intake. Thanks, Donnie..









    Quote Originally Posted by 97EldoCoupe View Post
    I hear a lot of people complaining (non-Caddy people) about how with a POS engine like a Northstar, you have to tear the engine apart to get at the starter. Mechanics especially.

    1. It's as simple as removing the intake manifold and
    2. You don't need to remove the intake on 95-99's.

    I just replaced one on a '98 STS and made record time (for me). 45 minutes start to finish.

    How? Leave fuel lines connected. Leave the heated TB hoses intact. Brake booster vacuum line left intact.

    Simply remove the intake bolts, the ground wire to the fuel rail, remove the bolt holding the fuel rail to the coolant crossover, and prop the one end of the intake up by the P/S pump. With careful hands and small tools you can have the starter out in 20 minutes, without damaging anything. Of course, disconnect the battery first.

    All you have to watch out for is the intake ports- don't let any dirt, debris, or small parts fall in. And don't let the fuel rail/lines kink anywhere.

    I've heard labor times of up to 9 hours. The day I'd pay someone $900 labor to replace my starter, is the day I will declare insanity.

    Just a note to anyone who may need this done in the near future, beware of shops who charge too much (GM techs- I know the dealerships set standards and I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone)- if you can't get quotes of 4 hours or less I'd say take a bit of time after work and do it yourself. An unexperienced individual could easily do it in 2 hours.

    The guy I changed this starter for had his alternator replaced in St. Catharines Ontario and it costed him $1400.00. Liquid cooled, a bit of a pain, but still an insanely high price. I don't like to see people taken advantage of.

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