My cheap-ass tune up
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, My cheap-ass tune up in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Well I got some cash for my birthday on the 22nd, so I'm gonna spend some of it on my ...
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    davesdeville's Avatar
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    My cheap-ass tune up

    Well I got some cash for my birthday on the 22nd, so I'm gonna spend some of it on my car. I figure it needs an oil change, plugs, wires, FPR and a new EGR valve (cleaning the thing 4 or 5 times didn't help.)

    So I scoured the parts stores today and picked up a case of Valvoline 5W-30 non-synthetic for 1.29 a quart with a coupon and a mail in rebate (which I ALWAYS mail in.) I figure I'm not gonna change it until it's cold anyway since I don't put that many miles on the car per month. Got a Penzoil filter too.

    Bought Bosch single-platinum plugs at $2.09 a piece since Delcos were over $6/ea and were the same type of plug. I went to Checker and asked about plug wires there, the guy said the cheapest they carry was like $70, but I went on their website and it came up with Accel wires for $30, so I asked for store pickup. It said they'd be ready in an hour, so they damn well better have 'em. I figure if they cause interferance and crap, I have 30 days to return them and get a refund, but I hope they work since the Delcos are so damn expensive.

    For the FPR and EGR valve I plan to go to the U-Pull U-Save and get them there. If the FPR leaks, I'll return it, and if the EGR still throws a code I'll try my best to clean it, otherwise back it goes. I will do this until they're out of parts or I get what I need. I figure/hope it won't cost more than $40 this way.

    So I'm officially a cheap SOB. If it all works out I'll be getting $375 or so worth of stuff for under $100. Maybe it will fix my slightly rough idle. I'll let you all know how those plug wires work out.

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    bigdaddy_lasvegas is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    dude thats a sweet idea...are you gonna replace the gas tank with a mouse on a wheel and a piece of cheese suspended infront of it?

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    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Quote Originally Posted by davesdeville

    Bought Bosch single-platinum plugs at $2.09 a piece since Delcos were over $6/ea and were the same type of plug.
    Can't say much about the plug wires except you usually get what you pay for. Most people have reported better results with OEM wires.

    The plugs , however, are another story. As you mentioned, they are singled platinum tipped. The A/C Delco 91-450's are dual platinum tipped. The Northstar ignition is a waste fire system, meaning that each plug fires on compression as well as exhaust stroke. If I recall correctly, in order to do this, four plugs fire positive to negative and the other four negative to positive. That means that four of your plugs will errode prematurely and won't last nearly as long as the OEM plugs. Sometimes the cheaper price is not worth the savings.

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    mcowden is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    Can't say much about the plug wires except you usually get what you pay for. Most people have reported better results with OEM wires.

    The plugs , however, are another story. As you mentioned, they are singled platinum tipped. The A/C Delco 91-450's are dual platinum tipped. The Northstar ignition is a waste fire system, meaning that each plug fires on compression as well as exhaust stroke. If I recall correctly, in order to do this, four plugs fire positive to negative and the other four negative to positive. That means that four of your plugs will errode prematurely and won't last nearly as long as the OEM plugs. Sometimes the cheaper price is not worth the savings.
    I'm with Ranger. I made the Bosch mistake before. When I finally ripped those pieces of $h1T out of there because I was having nasty misfire problems, two of the platinum tips had come off. A 25% failure rate after less than 40k miles is no good. They are cheap because they are junk. I would tell you to put a set of regular Delcos in there before spending one red cent on the Bosch plugs. At least those don't have tips to fall off.
    Mike

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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    The AC plugs are proven to be good for 100K miles. It's false economy to think a cheaper plug is better when it doesn't last as long. I'm as cheap as they come but my time is worth $$ to me. I hate doing things twice!
    What good is the forum if you don't follow experienced advice?

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    Eldyfig's Avatar
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Quote Originally Posted by davesdeville
    So I'm officially a cheap SOB.

    Ok, but don't take it out on your car. I have also made that same mistake. I sent my Bosch plugs back to Bosch and got my money back.

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    Mitch3 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    I don't remember why, but shortly after I bought my 94 Eldo I decided it should have a tuneup. I went to a very reputable garage who had a history of working on Cadillacs and the Northstar. He put in new wires and plugs etc. and said he used Caddy recommended parts (wires, plugs, etc.). Total cost was over $600. I've never owned a Caddy before but most I ever paid for a tuneup was around $100 for all my other cars. After the shock wore off I just figured this is life with a Caddy...Live With It. The car has never run as good as it did before the tuneup but it's OK. I have since learned (on this forum) if you own a Northstar, don't fix it unless it's broken. Knock on wood-----I have never had a problem with my Eldo. I change the oil, filters, etc. and it seems to take care of itself.

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    EcSTSatic's Avatar
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Must have been a bad day at the garage then. An engine should not run worse after a tuneup. Especially one that cost $600. I would have taken it back

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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch3
    ... if you own a Northstar, don't fix it unless it's broken...
    Exactly.
    My car is 11 ears old and still have original plugs and wires. I'm not in rush to change them just because I got some cash. It runs fine. What if after couple month your car starts to have bad idle, missing or something else. What you going to change: plug or wires? Or both? Save that money for some other stuff. And why you don't use 10W-30 which is recommended (at least on my 94)?

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    jsjag is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    Can't say much about the plug wires except you usually get what you pay for. Most people have reported better results with OEM wires.

    The plugs , however, are another story. As you mentioned, they are singled platinum tipped. The A/C Delco 91-450's are dual platinum tipped. The Northstar ignition is a waste fire system, meaning that each plug fires on compression as well as exhaust stroke. If I recall correctly, in order to do this, four plugs fire positive to negative and the other four negative to positive. That means that four of your plugs will errode prematurely and won't last nearly as long as the OEM plugs. Sometimes the cheaper price is not worth the savings.
    I have also concluded that they fire on intake and exhaust. For another $18 you could have gotten all eight of the correct plug. To me it is worth $18 to not have to do the rear bank again for a long time.

    The plug cables are the arteries of the ignition system. Just like your body you want good arteries to supply the energy flow. Before I knew better I went for the $70 cables but soon (in a matter of hours) decided the cables could not handle the high energy ignition. You would be better saving that $70 and waiting until you have another $50 and buy some 8mm Magnecore's. Those Magnecore's will last a long time and carry a big load of energy.

    Egr valves, yea they are simple mechanisms and IMHO is a place you can go cheap.

    Just am opinion ......one learned from experience.

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    davesdeville's Avatar
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Didn't realize the delco plugs were double tipped but I'd have noticed when I pulled the old ones out. I'll probably exchange the Bosch single platinums for Delcos, since the Delcos aren't actually much more expensive than other double platinums. Things like that are the reason I posted this thread.

    I've got 30 days to decide on the plug wires. I notice anything bad, I return them. My time is NOT at all valuable so I can't lose. Well, I could lose if on day 31 all the insulation falls off, but I don't think that's gonna happen. I'd check the paperwork but it's in the car, I believe the store also has a 2 year warranty on these wires if they fail.

    I don't see how any of this is "taking it out on my car" like some think, if these parts cause a problem, I change them. Otherwise I save money.

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    jsjag is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Quote Originally Posted by davesdeville
    Didn't realize the delco plugs were double tipped but I'd have noticed when I pulled the old ones out. I'll probably exchange the Bosch single platinums for Delcos, since the Delcos aren't actually much more expensive than other double platinums. Things like that are the reason I posted this thread.

    I've got 30 days to decide on the plug wires. I notice anything bad, I return them. My time is NOT at all valuable so I can't lose. Well, I could lose if on day 31 all the insulation falls off, but I don't think that's gonna happen. I'd check the paperwork but it's in the car, I believe the store also has a 2 year warranty on these wires if they fail.

    I don't see how any of this is "taking it out on my car" like some think, if these parts cause a problem, I change them. Otherwise I save money.
    It isn't as much about being hard on your car as it is about long term maintenance. Let's say those wires do last 2 years, I would bet the warranty will pro-rate the warranty to you.

    If they do make it to 2 years and go bad on the 25th month and you get arcing, misfires, etc. Do you start at the wires, the coils, the plugs? If your wires have been arcing without notice, that is hard on the coils. So you could be pounding your coils and may need new coils. Then from the misfire, you'll have some wet - fouled plugs and they can't be cleaned. So for your current $60 saving, in the long run it could cost you ......coils, some plugs and another set of wires. Add that up and it costs a lot more then the $60 you save on the best wires you can grab.

    I think that is what people are trying to stress to you.

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    mcowden is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjag
    It isn't as much about being hard on your car as it is about long term maintenance. Let's say those wires do last 2 years, I would bet the warranty will pro-rate the warranty to you.

    If they do make it to 2 years and go bad on the 25th month and you get arcing, misfires, etc. Do you start at the wires, the coils, the plugs? If your wires have been arcing without notice, that is hard on the coils. So you could be pounding your coils and may need new coils. Then from the misfire, you'll have some wet - fouled plugs and they can't be cleaned. So for your current $60 saving, in the long run it could cost you ......coils, some plugs and another set of wires. Add that up and it costs a lot more then the $60 you save on the best wires you can grab.

    I think that is what people are trying to stress to you.
    Bingo! On top of that, there is the potential problem of bleeding into surrounding wiring or systems (blower motor). The Delcos are designed to work with the car. I don't know anything about the Magnecore wires that jsjag is using and will rely on his experiences to make a decision. If it was me, I would go with the Delcos because they're known to work well. The Magnecores are supposed to be good wires also, it's just the unknown of how they will respond on a Northstar. Cheapie wires are constructed poorly of inferior materials with poor engineering. As jsjag mentioned, they could cost you more than you saved by going with the cheaper wires.
    Mike

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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    Quote Originally Posted by davesdeville
    Didn't realize the delco plugs were double tipped but I'd have noticed when I pulled the old ones out.
    They aren't exactly double tipped. The ground electrode and the central electrode are both platinum, hence dual platinum. The Bosch plugs have just a platinum ground electrode.

  16. #15
    davesdeville's Avatar
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    Re: My cheap-ass tune up

    I figured that out now that I got the delco 41-950s and they were singles. "Dual platinum" is a bit misleading.

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