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1988 Eldorado
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Howdy Cadillac gang,

I have own a 1988 Eldorado with a 4.5 litre v8. The body is in great shape, but the engine is a bit tired, and I wanted to put something a bit more peppy in it. I was looking long and hard at the 200hp 4.9 and 4.5 High Technology engines from the era, but I saw that modifying them was a waste of time in comparison to cost per horsepower.

So it's 2019 right now, and a lot of the information I found was from almost a decade ago at this point. I'm sure swapping methods have gotten better, products have gotten better, and the overall community knowledge is much better. So here I am, contemplating dropping a cheap Northstar into my 88 Eldorado, and I'd appreciate a few questions answered.

What are generally the best years and best models to pull an engine and transmission from for swapping into a project? Northstar Performance stated that their custom ECM/PCM would work for 99 and older engines.

Secondly, and most importantly, how intuitive is the wiring harness for a Northstar swap? I have studied an LS swap forwards and backwards due to my C10 project, but the Northstar has always seemed intimidating to me. How much has to be carried over during a Northstar swap for it to function? Is that Canadian place, Northstar Performance still opened? Is there any other specialty shops that could do the ECM work for swaps?

Lastly, and this may sound stupid, but I haven't owned any newer vehicles, but how does my 88 Eldorado's ABS system work with any kind of swap? Is it a separate system entirely?

I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty, and I'm not afraid of having to do the head gasket maintenance. The issue is just collecting the right information to get it done right. This forum is one of the best around for getting the right information, so I could really use the help.

Thank you.
 

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-Administrator-
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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66,934 Posts
A bit late but ........ rebuild the existing 4.5 and forget about a Northstar swap. Unless you rebuild everything from the driver's seat forward it won't work. Northstar "wiring" bears NO resemblance to other engines/transmissions.

Yes, Northstar Performance is very much alive. www.northstarperformance.com

ABS/Stability varies by car year and model, and it takes some input from the ECM or PCM as well as from over a dozen body/chassis/brake sensors. It's vehicle-dependent.
 

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Registered
1988 Eldorado
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I don't understand how a Cadillac specific forum could be absolutely useless about any kind of Cadillac Northstar swaps. Wonderful.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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18,864 Posts
I don't understand how a Cadillac specific forum could be absolutely useless about any kind of Cadillac Northstar swaps. Wonderful.
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the reason no one has responded is this has already been discussed - many - MANY times -
and the answer is
ANYTHING CAN BE DONE - providing you have REALLY DEEP POCKETS -
we are talking THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of dollars -
and that's when the discussion usually ends -

there is no cheap OR easy way to swap a Northstar motor into your 1988 Eldo -
in fact - swapping the 4.9 motor into your car won't be an easy task either -
 

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-Administrator-
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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66,934 Posts
I don't understand how a Cadillac specific forum could be absolutely useless about any kind of Cadillac Northstar swaps. Wonderful.
Have you read all the sticky threads (push pin icon) in this Engines; Northstar forum ? The below link gives you some of the differences in the Northstar itself ........


The site is not "useless" concerning "any kind" of Northstar swaps. Some vehicles can accept the engine easily, some can't. To swap that engine into your 4.5 car would require an almost total rebuild of the front end - engine, transmission, wiring, suspension, frame, underbody, exhaust, engine controls, and on and on.

Essentially, you're looking at a "Northstar into Fiero" sort of work - dedicated, tough, expensive, standalone engine management systems. That type of work is discussed in a few older threads in Engines; Northstar and in the Fiero modification websites. Try to do a google search for "cadillac forums northstar engine swaps" or something close, always preceded by "cadillac forums ..........".

A Northstar will not simply swap into a 4.5 car - far from it. The main reason you don't see any advice is that very little of that sort of work/modification actually exists in here.

There is a Deville with a crate 572 in it in here - it's for sale for just over $70,000 - nothing but the engine works. The rest of the car is a body with no toys.
 
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