So far I'm not thrilled
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, So far I'm not thrilled in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; On 8/15/05 we picked up a 95 De Ville Concours in CA and drove it to PA. It ran fine ...
  1. #1
    jsjag is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    So far I'm not thrilled



    On 8/15/05 we picked up a 95 De Ville Concours in CA and drove it to PA. It ran fine until we hit Nebraska and then a misfire started. New wires haven't fixed it and new coils didn't fix it.

    I am in PA now and talked with one of my mechanics yesterday. He ran a TSB on the 95 De Ville Concours and almost 300 TSB's appeared. Stopped at the one discussing wires/plugs/carbon tracking and misfires. The TSB says to use spark plug AC-929 (ribless insulator). It also mentions wires (GM part of course). The TSB states, "The new AC 929 spark plug and boot design significantly reduces carbon tracking and reduces engine misfire." Reduces? How about eliminates???? The TSB also states, "The boots contain FHC grease as a lubricant. If silicone type lubricants are added to FHC coated boots, carbon tracking of spark plugs may occur." Well isn't that just ducky. Many of the wires you buy already have a small amount of silicone rubbed applied to the boots.


    I guess I now see why the PO spent 0ver $900 at the dealer for wires and coils. UNREAL! Minor tune up items costing $900.

    IMHO the wiring loom on this car is made for carbon tracking and or arcing. The wires to the rear plugs are longer than needed and create a 90 degree bend, the wires going to the front tubes lay on top the manifold tubes and are held down on the metal tubes by the plastic cover.

    For the past 15 years I've driven Jags and never need to pay for dealer only items like plugs or wires. The after market parts from my parts guy in Idaho work very well, the local parts stores also work for my Jag parts.

    $900 for wires and coils. Give me a physical break! The engineers went way out of their way on this car to cement dealer only maintenance. I'm not thrilled with the maintenance part of the car.


    It is a nice car to ride in, has a lot of power but I'm not sure I want to own a car that I can't even do a plug/wire job without dealer assistance.

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    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    You CAN do it without dealer assistance. While the OEM plug wires are not cheap, they are a LOT cheaper at http://www.gmpartsdirect.com or http://www.rockauto.com. as well as any other parts you may need.

    BTW, there was a fuel rail recall on the '95-'97's. If your fuel rail is black nylon, it wasn't done. If it is stainless steel, it was. A misfire after the recall is a common problem due to moving the old wire around. I had the problem myself. Also, the wires run pretty close to the blower motor. Don't let them rest against it. They will take out the blower, another common problem. The blower motor has since been redisigned.

  4. #3
    Eldyfig's Avatar
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    How much of that $900 was for labor?

  5. #4
    EcSTSatic's Avatar
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjag


    On 8/15/05 we picked up a 95 De Ville Concours in CA and drove it to PA. It ran fine until we hit Nebraska and then a misfire started.
    I've heard that Nebraska is the Bermuda Triangle of DeVilles.

    I find $900 for a tuneup hard to swallow too. I'd be interested in a breakdown of parts and labor.

    I recommend Magnecor wires. Check out their site and learn everything you ever wanted to know about spark plug wires. You can order them directly from Magnecor or get them significantly cheaper from a distributor like UltraRev. They cost as much as discounted factory sets and have a lifetime warranty. Google on "magnecor distributor" and you can find other distributors.

  6. #5
    danbuc's Avatar
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    It cost me abotu $140 for the plugs and wires, and only took me about 2 hours to change everything myself. I bet you, that at least $500 of the total cost was labor.

  7. #6
    mcowden is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    Quote Originally Posted by EcSTSatic
    I've heard that Nebraska is the Bermuda Triangle of DeVilles.

    I find $900 for a tuneup hard to swallow too. I'd be interested in a breakdown of parts and labor.

    I recommend Magnecor wires. Check out their site and learn everything you ever wanted to know about spark plug wires. You can order them directly from Magnecor or get them significantly cheaper from a distributor like UltraRev. They cost as much as discounted factory sets and have a lifetime warranty. Google on "magnecor distributor" and you can find other distributors.
    The Magnecore wires probably work well on a SBC, but they were never tested on a Northstar and the engines and engine compartments are very, very different. The Delco wires were designed to work well with the Northstar and its engine compartment. The Magnecores were not. It might be difficult or impossible to route the Magnecores properly, especially under the appearance cover, since they are larger in diameter than the factory wires. If I was racing the Northstar, I might consider the Magnecores, but for daily driving and where reliability counts, I think I'd stick with the Delcos. Just my opinion. I'm not saying the Magnecores are bad, just that they might not work as well as the Delcos in this particular application. If you have a Honda Civic, the Magnecore sticker on your rear window will give you another 35 H.P.
    Mike

  8. #7
    jsjag is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    You CAN do it without dealer assistance. While the OEM plug wires are not cheap, they are a LOT cheaper at http://www.gmpartsdirect.com or http://www.rockauto.com. as well as any other parts you may need.

    BTW, there was a fuel rail recall on the '95-'97's. If your fuel rail is black nylon, it wasn't done. If it is stainless steel, it was. A misfire after the recall is a common problem due to moving the old wire around. I had the problem myself. Also, the wires run pretty close to the blower motor. Don't let them rest against it. They will take out the blower, another common problem. The blower motor has since been redisigned.
    Thanks for the info! I did notice that the one wire was touching the blower motor and that one wire had a flat rub mark on it. Running a wiring loom without wires touching is impossible. I can't figure out why some of the plug wires have so much extra wire to them that you must make almost a 180 degree turn.

    Autolite has some that they call their professional series for around $90 and from what I read, they are very good wires. If they don't work for me my parts store will give me a credit toward the $138 for the AC Delco wires (must be special ordered).

  9. #8
    jsjag is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldyfig
    How much of that $900 was for labor?
    Here is the break down from the GMC dealer, date 4/13/2001:

    Spark plugs $ 80.96
    Wire kit $189.90
    Coil ASM $237.28

    Total Parts $508.14
    The remaining $917.79 invoice was tax and labor.

    All the above work was done @40,000 miles ago.

    On 2/20/2003 the poor PO was also talked into getting a new engine. Apparently there was (what PO was later told by another mechanic) a valve sound that could have been fixed. Instead the PO spent $8,42.49 on getting another engine installed.

    So in about 4 years the guy spent almost $10,000 on maintenance. Ouch! A parts guy told me today, wait until you try to change a starter. I asked why? He said it is located under the intake manifold. Was that loaction picked for the ease of the production line or for the consumer?

    I've been a Jag owner for a long time and the De Ville will be my wife's car. On the Jag forum it is commonly accepted that we stay far away from the dealers.

  10. #9
    jsjag is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    Quote Originally Posted by mcowden
    The Magnecore wires probably work well on a SBC, but they were never tested on a Northstar and the engines and engine compartments are very, very different. The Delco wires were designed to work well with the Northstar and its engine compartment. The Magnecores were not. It might be difficult or impossible to route the Magnecores properly, especially under the appearance cover, since they are larger in diameter than the factory wires. If I was racing the Northstar, I might consider the Magnecores, but for daily driving and where reliability counts, I think I'd stick with the Delcos. Just my opinion. I'm not saying the Magnecores are bad, just that they might not work as well as the Delcos in this particular application. If you have a Honda Civic, the Magnecore sticker on your rear window will give you another 35 H.P.
    The Magnecore's come in 7mm (like current OEM size) 8mm or for the racing types 8.5. On my XJ6 I have 8mm (7mm was OEM). I had to buy new loom holders that would accept 8mm but other than that I love them. Plus the dark blue wires are very nice looking.

    I don't know about the Mag's for one reason, if in a last ditch attempt I must go to a dealer I dont want them to use the, "wires aren't OEM AC Delco" for a reason of misfire. I could see them putting on new wires / coils / ICM and everything else under the sun just to stop the misfire. Then how could I prove if it was or wasn't the wires. So if I go with OEM AC-delco wires the dealer can't use the wires as a reason.

  11. #10
    Eldyfig's Avatar
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    I have never used and don't believe I ever will use a dealer to get work done to any of my vehicles (unless it is a cosmetic item on our new truck). Only mechanic I have ever used is my transmission man. And he has is own business and does costum rod work among some regular daily driver cars. He has done a TH400 and the 4T80 for me and I have nothing but compliments for him. Point being, I can get most work done myself for alot cheaper and I have the peace of mind knowing exactly what has been done to the vehicles.

    The north* starter isn't neccessarily too hard to get at. It is in a off beat spot. It isn't much to get the intake out of the way. It is a dry well under the intake, so you won't be troubled with sealing a valley pan.

    Like Ranger said, the parts can be bought for alot cheaper than the dealer sells them.

  12. #11
    jsjag is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    Quote Originally Posted by EcSTSatic
    I've heard that Nebraska is the Bermuda Triangle of DeVilles.

    I find $900 for a tuneup hard to swallow too. I'd be interested in a breakdown of parts and labor.

    I recommend Magnecor wires. Check out their site and learn everything you ever wanted to know about spark plug wires. You can order them directly from Magnecor or get them significantly cheaper from a distributor like UltraRev. They cost as much as discounted factory sets and have a lifetime warranty. Google on "magnecor distributor" and you can find other distributors.
    At least I didn't get sucked into the Nebraska Triangle!!!

    Thanks for the UltraRev site. I just bought some 8mm Magnecors that, with shipping, came to $125. The car is supposed to have the Platinum spark plugs and I doubt if the plugs are the problem. I am guessing that the wires were hitting the metal fan housing, starting arcing / tracking until they were cooked. My fingers are crossed.

    There is one thing that I am not famaliar with and that is the code check using the climate control buttons. I get a reading of no codes for all the other codes but when it reaches PCM it reads PCM? What's with the question mark?

  13. #12
    davesdeville's Avatar
    davesdeville is offline Banned
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    That's to allow you to go deep into the enchanted world of settings and info outputs the PCM has to offer. This enchanted world has many dangerous things not to be tampered with by the untrained (or at least those without a factory service manual.)

  14. #13
    jsjag is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    Quote Originally Posted by davesdeville
    That's to allow you to go deep into the enchanted world of settings and info outputs the PCM has to offer. This enchanted world has many dangerous things not to be tampered with by the untrained (or at least those without a factory service manual.)
    But I like entering dangerous and enchanted worlds. Seriously though, my Haynes manual says that after all the checks I should get a number 7 to show it is finished. Haynes has been known to be wrong.

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

    As mentioned the starter is not as big of a deal as it would seem. It does stay clean and dry where it is and you won't be on your back getting dirt in your eyes.

    Haynes is relatively useless for all but the most basic stuff. If you are going to do your own maintanence, do yourself a favor and get a factory service manual by Helm inc. You can probably score one on ebay, but even at full price from Helm they are worth their weight in gold. I just pulled the air bag on my daughters '99 SLS to get at one of the steering wheel switches and I never would have been able to figure it out without the manual. Got it for $45 on Ebay. Heed Daves advice. I would not venture past "PCM?" without a REAL manual.

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    Re: So far I'm not thrilled

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