Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I believe i have a broken rod in my 03 deville dts. My engine stopped without any significant notice. Went ...
  1. #1
    robjpiel is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    I believe i have a broken rod in my 03 deville dts. My engine stopped without any significant notice. Went to accelerate during a turn and noticed no power steering and no throttle response...the engine had quit. I forced the steering around the corner and coasted half a mile down a hill and off onto a side street. Put it in park and tried to start it up...no luck. One click and the lights would all go out. Seemed like a dead battery so I put a new one in. Same thing again. I figured it was just because the new battery wasnt fully charged. Got it towed home and charged both batteries. Same thing again... wouldn't start and lights would go out. I considered it was possibly a safety mechanism for an overload and tried to turn the crank with a breaker bar. Well it seemed siezed!!!! Tried to rotate it backwards slightly and it went with normal force. Then it would turn forwards right up to the same exact point and felt like it was hitting something. It wasnt leaking oil anywhere, the oil still looked black, and all the plugs but one looked good. The # 7 or 8 spark plug appears to have been hit!!

    So here we are. I am afraid to pay a local shop $2100 to install a $900 80,000mi junk yard engine and then expect to have a reasonably reliable car. I dont think its worth risking $3000 and if there is any problem I am screwed and I cannot take that kind of chance. I have found Davis and Cadillac Doctor and they will install a rebuilt with the 1yr warranty for $3000 in Ohio. That sounds like something I could consider if they are legit. I havent seen too much talk on here regarding them.

    Has anyone dealt with them? Does anyone have any other suggestions.

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    A thrown rod in a Northstar is VERY rare. The lower end is almost bullet proof. I think I may have heard of it one time (unless of coarse you hydro-locked it). Does it turn any easier with the plugs out?

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    robjpiel is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    I will tell you in a few minutes...thank you for the reply!!

    Plugs are already out..car has been sitting for a couple months since i turned it....

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    OK. so now that it has been so long the bolt is loosening up before the crank is turning at all. hmmm. I tried turning it forward with all force I could come up with, no luck at all.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    Find a used engine from the same year and VIN car, do a top overhaul with either inserts or studs and drop it in.

    Good, used engine oil is NOT black - it is clear, dark amber/brown in color.

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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    Quote Originally Posted by robjpiel View Post
    OK. so now that it has been so long the bolt is loosening up before the crank is turning at all.
    Oh oh! The oil pump is driven by clamping pressure of that bolt. It requires VERY high torque. Something like 320 ft lb if I remember correctly. Most guys have trouble loosening it. You may have been driving it with no oil pressure and seized the engine. No low oil pressure warning message, bells or whistles?

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    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    BUT, do we hear any stories of balancer bolt coming lose when NO work has been done on motor? What are the chances the bolt just worked its way lose on its own?

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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    Piston goes up to the same point and stops each time - dropped valve.......... he can turn the crank backwards a bit, but when he rotates it clockwise - BUMP !.

    Nope, harmonic balancer bolts on these engines don't wiggle loose ................

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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    Quote Originally Posted by stoveguyy View Post
    BUT, do we hear any stories of balancer bolt coming lose when NO work has been done on motor? What are the chances the bolt just worked its way lose on its own?
    Slim to none.

  10. #9
    robjpiel is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    Quote Originally Posted by Submariner409 View Post
    Find a used engine from the same year and VIN car, do a top overhaul with either inserts or studs and drop it in.

    Good, used engine oil is NOT black - it is clear, dark amber/brown in color.
    I've heard the engine doesn't like to come out of the top, and I don't have access to a lift of any kind. I could buy a cherry picker if it was going to get it out. Do you know of any special tools I would need to do this job? I'm sorry if you have answered this a hundred times... I'm just wondering if I could actually do this myself on this engine, and what it would end up costing. Wouldn't I need to get it machined?

    The oil was pretty dark

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
    Oh oh! The oil pump is driven by clamping pressure of that bolt. It requires VERY high torque. Something like 320 ft lb if I remember correctly. Most guys have trouble loosening it. You may have been driving it with no oil pressure and seized the engine. No low oil pressure warning message, bells or whistles?
    This happened in August...at that time the bolt was not loose the engine was moving freely backwards and back to the same spot. After that my dad pulled the plugs out and noticed one bent. He put the rubber inserts back in and left each plug on top upside down. I had to get another vehicle immediately and the caddy has been a lawn ornament since then (a nice one I must admit). I'm guessing the engine has locked up a bit from sitting. At least enough for the bolt to loosen up first. Forwards I was able to put allot more force on it and it didn't budge at all.

    Didn't get a oil pressure warning or anything else.

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Submariner409 View Post
    Piston goes up to the same point and stops each time - dropped valve.......... he can turn the crank backwards a bit, but when he rotates it clockwise - BUMP !
    We were considering this at first also until we found the bent plug...
    Could that have been bent if it were just a dropped valve?

    ----------

    I appreciate your help guy's.

    How could it have gotten hydro-locked while going down the road? If that was the case and it had sat that long I could easily see how the engine would be locked up like this now.

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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    The engine can come out the top:


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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    I've heard the engine doesn't like to come out of the top
    True. It can be done, but is generally considered harder.


    I'm guessing the engine has locked up a bit from sitting. At least enough for the bolt to loosen up first.
    No way in hell that bolt is gonna loosen up on it's own.


    How could it have gotten hydro-locked while going down the road?
    About the only way that's gonna happen is if you run through a REALLY deep puddle.

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    robjpiel is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger View Post

    No way in hell that bolt is gonna loosen up on it's own.
    LOL I know, I meant I loosened it with the breaker bar since the engine is not moving anymore


    Yea so I guess we can just rule out Hydro-locking then.

    It seems that I have two main options since I need to get this car running and get rid of my truck.

    1- shipping it up to Ohio and getting the rebuilt one installed for around $3k plus towing it/shipping it etc. bringing the total to around 4k... I was just hoping someone had some experience doing business with these guy's. It seems like they are the only reasonably priced place for rebuilt N* engines on the internet.

    2- pulling mine through the top. Opening it up to see what happened and most likely buying a used one. What would everyone recommend doing to a used engine before re-installing it? Inserts, and a new head gasket or more?

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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    To me always check your vehicle to a good mechanic whenever you think something is really serous to repair, in some cases don't try to it by yourself because sometime you'll be able to open some parts of your vehicle but when you try to refix it, ti will be kind a hard for new car owners or mechanics as well.

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    Manic Mechanic is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    Hey Rob, considering your predicament and have a few questions and suggestions.

    On #1, first where are you? Many of us know places or resources that may or may not be on the net that could be of great help. Those two shops have decided to specialize and therefore can reduce the price because they're set up to do it quickly with a lot of experience. What you save you spend in shipping though. And realistically when you say "around $3,000" I assume that the vast majority of jobs end up $3,500-4,200 before it's done due to unforeseen issues. Once your all in you can't say no. It's not so much that I think they are misleading it's just that I'm a pro and also I'm very familiar with these cars and Northstar's now and know that there's going to be other necessary and recommended maintenance and repairs. Esp. if you want the warranty and at least 3 years more service from the rest of the car. I'm not try to scare you or cast any doubt on those guys who I have no knowledge of. I'm just trying to be a expert realist. In your decision making unless you can find a list of impartial guys who swear they all came and went just under and above $3,000 and are still happily motoring then you should assume $3,000 is the bare minimum and rarely achieved by anyone who wants to keep the car. Just my opinion. We all have to earn a living and to keep up promised expectations everything else better leave tip-top. They wouldn't want complaints because they didn't take care of any other needed things and the power-train had another failure that parked the car.

    On #2. Assuming the salvage engine is under 100K I would at the minimum replace the head gaskets and stud or insert the block. Also reseal the bottom end with the latest materials and procedures. Meaning rear main seal, lower case half, and oil pan. Don't forget about the water cross-over gaskets as this is also a large in chassis job. While the engine is out I would shift the transmission over. Pull the side cover and install a new TCC solenoid that's going to burn up during the first month of reuse if you don't. That's the minimum but I went 5x further when I had mine out. The rest would be an as need or wanted basis.

    Taking it to a pro will go much faster. You need to balance your time vs. money. Yes it costs more to pay but you would be very surprised how much a DIY will have to spend in time and money to achieve the same results. It's not as big a gap as you think for the first timer and definitely not worth the difference IMHO. Look at some of these DIY rebuild threads and consider as a pro doing it for the first time on open Saturdays while collecting new tools and running into snags to overcome etc. it took me about 6 months and much frustration to go through mine. You'll find things you had no clue were going bad. And I still need a tighter tailshaft housing though it's back in service. Since AJ decided there wasn't enough interests in his parts to actually "dig them out" I got one coming from an Ebay vendor this week.

    Vernon

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    Re: Rebuilt 4.6 from Davis Auto Repair or Cadillac Doctor

    Good words ^^^^

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