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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Engine parts cleaning during overhaul in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Originally Posted by dkozloski I start an engine project by going to the local DIY car wash, covering the electrical ...
  1. #16
    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by dkozloski View Post
    I start an engine project by going to the local DIY car wash, covering the electrical stuff with tape and plastic bags, and washing down everything before I start with the pressure washer.
    We used to tow the chassis down to the car wash after the engine was removed...

    The rear seal is an easy remove, drill a hole in the outer edges and put a nail or nail set in it and pry, just don't nick the crank mating faces...

    As far as cleaning the block, I just use a little gas with a parts washer brush along with a catch basin at the bottom...either that or mineral spirits. follow that up with a can of carb cleaner and you can get the thing gleaming...

    My motor looked just as bad if not worse...



    But after cleaning method described above...look at the block sides...



    After it was reassembled:



    Mind you, I didn't do a complete tear down, but you get the idea...

  2. #17
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by Submariner409 View Post
    I didn't "imply" anything - I stated a fact.

    A bit of fly in the ointment - get into the ARP website and read their theory on "torque to yield" head bolts vs. studs or bolts that are stressed (torqued) to 75% - 90% of their yield strength and what that difference means in retained clamping pressure.

    Even in that gasket picture, do you see any evidence that coolant migrated from a bolt hole to a cylinder ??? My opinion is that the open deck design coupled with a bolt that was initially torqued past its maximum clamping ability (torque to yield) is the culprit in most northstar head gasket failure. NO engine is immune to head (or any) gasket failure - but not at the rate that seems to plague the 1996 - 1999 Northstar.

    Think rubber band - a bigass rubber band stretched 75% will hold a LOT longer than a thinner one stretched to 110% ("stretch to yield").
    Interesting, and worthy hypothesis but are the 1993-95 torqued differently? IIRC, the headbolts are torqued at the factory by a machine all at the same time, so unless the metallurgy is inconsistent--what would cause a bolt to be torqued past it's prime?
    • From looking at the failed headgaskets with torn up material over the water jackets... and seeing some of these close-up photos depicting the nice metal rings around the cylinders, it looks like the 4 rings are siamesed, but the metal does not continue throughout the gasket. The rings are floating, held in place by the gasket material. There aren't any bolts holding the rings down, except the 10 headbolts on the gasket perimeter.
    • I recall AJ and perhaps others mentioning the head gaskets "bunching up" from the thermal cycling and combustion. I think it was yet another observation, that just looked too conspicuous to pass.
    That said, IF, the headgasket materials around these metal firing rings corrode, disintegrate, or tears, or "bunches up," or get structurally compromised in any way (OAT vs. silicone rubber or nylon 6,6)... those rings would no longer be guaranteed to stay in place... would they? They could slide around and eventually the combustion gases could find their way into the coolant (and viceversa) as the seal is lost. This would be an occasion the torque to yield would be important as then it's up to Lady Luck. That's why a multi-layer solid sheet of stainless steel with cylinder cut-outs, coated with viton seems like a "safer bet," as the cut-out rings in the mls sheets wouldn't move around once fastened down.

    Any thoughts on this observation? Depending on the metallurgy, wouldn't studs yield as well? IIRC isn't there a revised set of head bolt installation that involves turning them specific degrees (yield vs torque)?

  3. #18
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by the recluse View Post
    We used to tow the chassis down to the car wash after the engine was removed...

    The rear seal is an easy remove, drill a hole in the outer edges and put a nail or nail set in it and pry, just don't nick the crank mating faces...

    As far as cleaning the block, I just use a little gas with a parts washer brush along with a catch basin at the bottom...either that or mineral spirits. follow that up with a can of carb cleaner and you can get the thing gleaming...

    My motor looked just as bad if not worse...



    But after cleaning method described above...look at the block sides...



    After it was reassembled:



    Mind you, I didn't do a complete tear down, but you get the idea...
    Nice job, the recluse. That is a clean looking engine. Are the cam covers painted creamy or pearly white?

  4. #19
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Cummings beige, believe it or not...

    Motor finished:




  5. #20
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Wow!

  6. #21
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    That's amazing, one heck of a clean looking engine. Wish I had a lift, things would've gone so much easier.

  7. #22
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    How goes the slaying of the Northstar Beast?

  8. #23
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by mtflight View Post
    Depending on the metallurgy, wouldn't studs yield as well? IIRC isn't there a revised set of head bolt installation that involves turning them specific degrees (yield vs torque)?
    Studs DO NOT "yield". GM Northstar head bolts do. Studs can be reused many times, GM Northstar head bolts cannot.

    Studs are seated finger tight in the block and the head bolt hardened washers and nuts are torqued to a specific lb/ft specification. GM Northstar head bolts are torqued to a small initial figure to establish a starting base, then twisted an additional XXX degrees to pull the shank of the bolt to its yield - "rubber band stretch" - point.

    You install studs, you torque the nuts to a specific torque in 3 passes. Install BigSerts or NS300L Inserts and ARP studs, you torque the stud nuts to a specific figure in 3 passes. You install BigSerts or NS300L inserts and use GM Northstar head bolts, you torque to initial spec + the extra XXX degrees for bolt stretch.

    Why do I specify "GM Northstar head bolts" as such ? Because they are torque to yield pieces and are useless after removal. GM Oldsmobile 455 head bolts are huge affairs and can be reused forever.

    Grab a pretty good-sized rubber band. Hold it so as to remove all droop, no tension ........ now pull it to some length. Notice how the rubber band itself becomes smaller in width ??? THAT'S what happens to a GM Northstar head bolt - except the head bolt will never return to it's original shape - it's like a rubber band that has been left wrapped around the box too long. Useless.

    As an aside, the entire "twist to yield" procedure may be partially responsible for head gasket failures - the very statement "Torque to yield" or "Twist to yield" implies that there is no "spring" left in the bolt(s). A tiny something goes wrong and the bolts cannot maintain clamping pressure. Tim Carroll's studs, Jake's studs, and Norm's Inserts with ARP studs will NEVER lose clamping pressure.
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Castrol Super Clean and a pressure washer are your friends. Trust them......

  10. #25
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Well, visually telling, the #1 cylinder was the problem. Every other cylinders looked normal with carbon buildup and no coolant in it, but #1 is pretty washed away. The gasket looks far much better than what I had in my Seville, either. If you're looking at the #1 cylinder, you can see some carbon buildup going past the fire ring, indicating the possible source of the combustion gas in the cooling system.

    Bank 1


    Carbon track near cylinder #1



    Bank 2



    Bank 1 gasket


    Fire ring for cylinder #1


    Bank #1 head


    Bank #2 head
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Ironically, the two northstars that I've removed heads off of, the number one cylinder has usually been the culprit.....

  12. #27
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Weird, after reading that I looked at the pictures of my first head gasket repair again - and found that it was indeed the #1 cylinder that had the most amount of coolant in it with the carbon buildup looking pretty different than others.

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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    There is something going on in that cylinder in this motor.......

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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Well, the blower motor for the heater is on the passenger side of the car, no? Perhaps that extra heat wreaks havoc on the #1 cylinder in cars that blow their HGs.

    Just a thought.
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    Re: Engine parts cleaning during overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by CadillacLuke24 View Post
    Well, the blower motor for the heater is on the passenger side of the car, no? Perhaps that extra heat wreaks havoc on the #1 cylinder in cars that blow their HGs. Just a thought.
    Wut ???

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