Blown NorthStar
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Blown NorthStar in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Well, I took my caddy to a dealer. 1998 Seville STS. They're telling me that my piston is hitting the ...
  1. #1
    speedyman_2's Avatar
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    Blown NorthStar

    Well, I took my caddy to a dealer. 1998 Seville STS. They're telling me that my piston is hitting the head. But, this is only a diagnosis from the sound. So basically I paid for them to tell me what they think it sounds like. So now I don't now what to do. I just got off a 6 month deployment and It sucks because I can't get around. And, it's getting expensive to tow this car to different places. Especially out here in San Diego. Does anyone know where I can get a running used Northstar. The dealer quoted me $10,000 to replace it with a new one. I would love a brand new engine but, there's not way I can afford $10K. ANy help would be appreciated. Thanks

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  3. #2
    ktills45 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    Quote Originally Posted by speedyman_2
    Well, I took my caddy to a dealer. 1998 Seville STS. They're telling me that my piston is hitting the head. But, this is only a diagnosis from the sound. So basically I paid for them to tell me what they think it sounds like. So now I don't now what to do. I just got off a 6 month deployment and It sucks because I can't get around. And, it's getting expensive to tow this car to different places. Especially out here in San Diego. Does anyone know where I can get a running used Northstar. The dealer quoted me $10,000 to replace it with a new one. I would love a brand new engine but, there's not way I can afford $10K. ANy help would be appreciated. Thanks
    Theres an outfit that's in a thread here that sells rebuilt N* motors for about 4.5k. Timeserted and everything. Do a search on rebuilt engines, you'll get a hit.

  4. #3
    ktills45 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    Found it! Jasper engines, probably jasperengines.com or some such. 4-4.5k for the engine. Good luck!

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    Wait a minute. How can the piston be hitting the head? Can't happen unless something (piston or rod) becomes disconnected and in that case the motor would literaly self destruct. You may have carbon build up in there from babying it and that is what the piston is hitting which causes the piston to rock on the wrist pin and then the skirts slaps the wall (aka piston slap). If that is your problem, take it out and beat the living hell out of it. Out it in 2nd gear and plant your foot to the floor. Do not release it til you hit 70 mph. Then let it back down to 50 and nail it again. Do it about 10 times then drive it normal to let it cool down. By the tenth time you should not see any carbon out of the pipes. That'll clean the carbon out of the cylinders.

    Give us more details. Why did you take it in? what are the symptoms?

  6. #5
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    I agree with Ranger, there is no way a piston hit the heaed unless it is not attach. That is BS that they charge you or you pay them to listen to your engine. They have no fact to back it up by listening for a sound.

  7. #6
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    Yeah guys, I know. How could they just tell me what they think it sounds like. Well, I still need a new motor though. They didn't find anything external. My dad found a used Northstar for $1,600. It has 70K miles on it though. Someone can install it back home in Florida for $700. So, $2,300 total to put in a used motor. That's looking like my best deal as of now. Although I'd love a rebuilt one. I can't afford much right now. Thanks for your help.

  8. #7
    yeabuddy is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    hey just want to tell you that your insurance will reinburst you for the towing if you check in to it,so ask them!

  9. #8
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    How do you know the motor is shot? So far all we know is that it is making some kind of sound that sounds like a piston hitting the cylinder head.

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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    Hey check out remanufactured.com, I actually spoke with 'Dave' today about a reman N* as my N* is now eating coolant at the clip of 1/2 a jug every 2 weeks, and it's only going to get worse. These guys were the cheapest at $3885 for the full assembly + S&H both ways, - $500 for the core so total around $3400 which is damn good. He said they used full timeserts on the main head bolt holes, new internals, set it up and break it in. Oh and it comes with a 1 year/unlimited mile warranty, and for $290 a 3 year/50k mile warranty parts & labor.


    The other guys I spoke with that were close in price but had a better warranty was Quality Engine Rebuild (http://www.quality-engine-rebuild.com/) that had total cost of $4695 for the full assembly and S&H both ways, -$700 for core so around $4k even. They have a 3 year/unlimited mileage warranty which makes them more competitve with Jasper which has the engine for 5kish, -$720 for core, HOWEVER, Jasper Installers apparantly can save you a bunch in labor charges because they do so many N*s. Jasper's warranty is 3 year/75k miles.

  11. #10
    cart69's Avatar
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    i just want someones old motor to play with and i havent even gotten one yet!!! dont care if its blown up or not!!!

  12. #11
    greggbruce is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    Wait a minute. How can the piston be hitting the head? Can't happen unless something (piston or rod) becomes disconnected and in that case the motor would literaly self destruct. You may have carbon build up in there from babying it and that is what the piston is hitting which causes the piston to rock on the wrist pin and then the skirts slaps the wall (aka piston slap). If that is your problem, take it out and beat the living hell out of it. Out it in 2nd gear and plant your foot to the floor. Do not release it til you hit 70 mph. Then let it back down to 50 and nail it again. Do it about 10 times then drive it normal to let it cool down. By the tenth time you should not see any carbon out of the pipes. That'll clean the carbon out of the cylinders.

    Give us more details. Why did you take it in? what are the symptoms?
    if there is carbon in the cylinders, this is a way to help reduce some of it. but seems a bit hard on it. (even though some of us drive like this anyway just cuz it's fun -- myself included) (I just had to race this little hot-rod rice grinder the other day, yeah, my 2 ton car waxed your little turd...)

    go to a gm dealer and buy 2 cans of "top engine cleaner" (liquid, not aerosol) and follow the directions on the can. it is the best carbon remover I have found in the last 25 years of working on cars.
    if you do this twice and the knocking is still there, then I would say you have an internal engine problem.
    the way the piston hits the head is if the bearing is worn out in the connecting rod. it lets the piston and rod travel higher in the cylinder and lets it hit the head. ( there's only thousandths of an inch between the piston top and a part of the head called the "chamber")
    you would also see a lower oil pressure because the bad bearing is a gushing oil leak inside the engine. this will eventually lead to what's called "throwing a rod" because it gets so hot, the bolts or bottom half of the rod melts and just comes apart, then whats left gets jammed (sometimes) outside the block by the next revolution of the crank, and thus, "punches a hole in the block" THEN it's time for a-whole-nother engine.....

  13. #12
    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    gregbruce,
    Go to the top left side of the page and click on Technical Archive. Read the section Occasional Full Throttle Acceleration Is Good For Your Car. It was written by a GM Powertrain engineer who regularly posts here.

  14. #13
    speedyman_2's Avatar
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    Quote Originally Posted by greggbruce
    if there is carbon in the cylinders, this is a way to help reduce some of it. but seems a bit hard on it. (even though some of us drive like this anyway just cuz it's fun -- myself included) (I just had to race this little hot-rod rice grinder the other day, yeah, my 2 ton car waxed your little turd...)

    go to a gm dealer and buy 2 cans of "top engine cleaner" (liquid, not aerosol) and follow the directions on the can. it is the best carbon remover I have found in the last 25 years of working on cars.
    if you do this twice and the knocking is still there, then I would say you have an internal engine problem.
    the way the piston hits the head is if the bearing is worn out in the connecting rod. it lets the piston and rod travel higher in the cylinder and lets it hit the head. ( there's only thousandths of an inch between the piston top and a part of the head called the "chamber")
    you would also see a lower oil pressure because the bad bearing is a gushing oil leak inside the engine. this will eventually lead to what's called "throwing a rod" because it gets so hot, the bolts or bottom half of the rod melts and just comes apart, then whats left gets jammed (sometimes) outside the block by the next revolution of the crank, and thus, "punches a hole in the block" THEN it's time for a-whole-nother engine.....
    Carbon is definately not the problem. It's an excessively loud knock. Definately internal. Cadillac dealer in San Diego says rod bearing or whatever. I've managed to find a used engine. Less than 10,000 miles on it. Paid $1,700 for it. Gonna pay $500 or so to get it installed. Hopefully next friday it should be done. Thanks for the help everyone.

  15. #14
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    That's an incredible deal on the engine and the installation...good find!

  16. #15
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    Re: Blown NorthStar

    Well, three more days and my car goes to get it's transplant. I can't wait. I've decided that since I'll have a whole other engine left over I can mod some parts. Does anyone know of a machine shop or something near San Diego that can do maybe a throttle body or something. Also, what other parts are relatively easy to replace and mod??

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