NorthStar reliability?
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, NorthStar reliability? in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Hello all i posted in the DTS forum but its like a morgue in there. I posted asking some general ...
  1. #1
    SSTUD is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    NorthStar reliability?

    Hello all i posted in the DTS forum but its like a morgue in there. I posted asking some general questions on the reliability of the DTS but i am currious as to how reliable the northstar motor is and what are some common problems with it? Thank you all for your replys.

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  3. #2
    Eldyfig's Avatar
    Eldyfig is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    IMO, the north* is very reliable. What other engine out there will start to overheat, but still let you drive a considerable distance to get to a safe spot by going into limp home mode (the north* will shut down cylinders and let air travel through them to help maintain temps)?

    It is common for the north* to consume oil to different degrees.

    A very important maintenance item would be the refreshing of the coolant system and the addition of coolant supplement tabs. This is especially true with the 95 or 96 and older models with the green antifreeze that should be changed out every 30k miles. The DTS is a newer model. You have the dexcool orange antifreeze which is good for 100k. Someone else can speculate on the time period if you are slow on racking up miles.

  4. #3
    erroneous is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    I can tell you about mine.

    My dad bought (1st Brand New Caddy ever efter retiring) a 1996 Deville. The car drives like a dream still. Spent almost all its time in NC. Garaged. When he willed it to me, it had 81k on it, mostly from driving to Long Island 4 times a year.
    I have all the dealer service records. This is NOT in order of service date

    Both front seat heater elements replaced.
    Lower Block seals replaced.
    Water pump replaced.
    Hood latch recall.
    On its 3rd set of tires (just got em)
    Front and rear brakes twice.
    Third Battery
    Water pump replaced.
    Heat/AC Blower motor replaced
    Alternator replaced
    Fuel Pump Harness replaced
    Fuel injector service to reduce oil consumption
    Plugs and wires
    Crank sensors replaced
    IAV valve replaced
    Replaced fuel rails
    A/c compressor replaced.
    Power steering resevoir replaced.
    Right rear lock switch replaced.
    Three oil pressure sensors (See my other posts)
    Vehicle has 92k on it now. I know that garaging the vehicle and keeping it meticulously clean has nothing to do with the mechanics, but, it is.
    I have a post on "STOP ENGINE LOW OIL PRESSURE" http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...1&page=2&pp=20
    which will bore you death on the details of my oil pressure situation which I now seem to have CORRELATED to spiking coolant temperature events.
    I am not BS'ing, for good or bad, these are the facts. I must say though this car drives beautifully, goes like hell, stops on a dime, and still turns heads. (at least I think so)

  5. #4
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    I think Eldyfig pretty much summed it up. I just turned 103K and have had no engine problems. In comparison to some others on this site and caddyinfo it is just getting broken in.

  6. #5
    SHERIFF's Avatar
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    Contrary to the horror tales you might hear from a few people nationwide, keep the coolant fresh and the Northstar will run 200,000 to 300,000 miles without missing a beat.

    They do use oil, this is normal. I am running a quart per 3,000 miles in a DTS. When I say they "use" oil, I mean they don't go down the road with a trial of oil smoke coming out the back exhausts as in "burning oil". Who the heck knows where it goes!

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    It is going out the tail pipe, but in such small quantities that it does not smoke. If your using oil, your either leaking it or burning it.

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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    I have 94 STS with about 71K, bought it used in 98 with 47,5K. I not drive much as you see, but anyway. For all these years I really didn't spent much money:

    1. One time changed the front brake pads and polished the rotors - ~$125
    2. One time changed a battery - $47
    3. Couple times changed stop/turn bulbs ~$5
    4. Changed computer - $75, shipping include (bought used one on-line)
    5. Changed level air compressor - $51, shipping include (bought used one on-line)
    6. Cleaned EGR passages $0 (did it myself)
    7. Changed air filter
    8. Sure I changed oil and coolant.

    Never changed the tires yet.
    Never changed plugs or wires.
    Never changed belts.
    Never even opened a beauty cover. (it works fine, why bother?)
    Engine works like a champ. Did try WOT, but didn't really see any black smoke, so I assume it's fine. I know some owners complain on oil consuming, but my engine does'nt use oil a lot, anyway I never add oil between changes, and I change oil only when computer tells me to do so.
    No oil leaks.

    Recently I got problem with the transmission. I ordered 2 solenoids and screens on-line (~$54 shipping include), hope it will fix it.

  9. #8
    SSTUD is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    Most cars do have some type of oil consumption. However, it is due to leakes or valve float etc. I would be looking at a 2000-2001 DTS trying for a 2001 since i hear nothing but horror stories of the 2000.:disappoin I have never owned a northstar so i was just currious. Its not like an LT1 is it with the bad opti, water pump, manifold leak is it? I basically want a reliable car that isnt going to suck up my money on pointless repairs. I have heard it was a good motor then i hear the opposite

  10. #9
    oldgamer's Avatar
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    Quote Originally Posted by SSTUD
    Most cars do have some type of oil consumption. However, it is due to leakes or valve float etc. I would be looking at a 2000-2001 DTS trying for a 2001 since i hear nothing but horror stories of the 2000.:disappoin I have never owned a northstar so i was just currious. Its not like an LT1 is it with the bad opti, water pump, manifold leak is it? I basically want a reliable car that isnt going to suck up my money on pointless repairs. I have heard it was a good motor then i hear the opposite
    More I read postings on a forum, more I get opinion that all depends of the owner. If owner just follows his manual and not goes crazy about any little issue his car will be just fine. If owner goes to dealer for any reason, his gonna be in trouble and waste a huge money. Some owners go to mechanics to change the battery. What can be easier? Some owners go to mechanics to smell a transmission fluid. I did it myself after I bought the car (~47,5K) . I didn't know that time that transmission fluid should be changed after 100K. And mechanic said it's probably should be changed. Thank god I didn't do it.
    So, if you not gonna baby it to much it's gonna be allright.

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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    Quote Originally Posted by erroneous
    ...spiking coolant temperature events...
    erroneous,
    how looks these spiking coolant temperature events? what's that?

  12. #11
    therodman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    SSTUD, this is my take and I have a 94 STS so it has some years on it, mileage is 70k. The motor is pretty much rock solid and I'm not afraid to use a little of that power now and then. You have to do the maintenance, especially the coolent system. Change oil regular and use a good grade 10W-30 and your motor will run fine for many miles. My oil life indicator usually gets to 10% oil life left at about 3500 miles and I'm right at a qt. low so I don't add any oil in between changes.

    With these older N* you end up changing the peripheral parts such as water pump, ac comp, whatever it may be but that's the case in any automobile. My dad had his Accord in for something and the mechanic said he should change the alternator because it had 118k miles on it. My dad said it's working fine why change it and the mechanic said on this car they all go at 120k. Sure enough, 2k miles later, poof and my dad doesn't doubt the mechanic anymore.

    I mentioned the Honda because some people belive they will run forever but they also have water pumps, fuel pumps, and timing belts that will fail in time.

    I believe the N* is the best motor I've ever owned when you consider the horsepower output and reliability.

    A car is a car and brakes, tires, batteries, things like that will always have to be changed if you own it long enough. You can purchase about any car new and drive it for 40k without doing anything and then trade it in. If you keep it past that then you'll start dishing out a few bucks!

    Hpoe you find what your looking for!

  13. #12
    erroneous is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldgamer
    erroneous,
    how looks these spiking coolant temperature events? what's that?
    Read thru my post about coolant temps (from the massive amount of info on here it doesnt seem overly bad, its never hit 240 .... yet .....)
    Lets not hijack this fella's post..

  14. #13
    Eldyfig's Avatar
    Eldyfig is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    It should probably be noted that the 4T80-E transmission the north* is hooked up to is also very reliable. Very tough trans' indeed. You will see posts here on sensors or solenoids going faulty, but in most cases they easy to get to and replace yourself.

  15. #14
    SSTUD is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    Thank you all for the replys. I didnt know the n* was so technical. Coolant pellets? cylinders shutting down? wow. I am used to SBC's where i just toss in oil and gas and let her go. I agree that cars are subject to wear and tear thats why i dont count tires, breaks, battery etc. Alternator does go at some point.

    Was there any signifcant changes to the N* through production? I mean the DTS will be a 00-01 just wondering if there was anything significant about those years thanks.

  16. #15
    erroneous is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: NorthStar reliability?

    I remember reading on this board somewhere about the 2000 models or something being notorious for bugs, I believe.

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