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North Star head bolt problem

1740 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  SKATTERBRANE
Hello. I have owned 4 98-99 Aurora Autobahns, and one 2001 Caddy ETC. I have never encountered a problem with the legendary head bolt/gasket failure on my cars. I really miss my ETC and was thinking of buying another someday. Just how common is this head bolts backing our causing head gasket failure anyway? I mean there are TONS of Northstars out there. Are some years better than others? I am thinking of sticking with 2001-2002 ETC (maybe even 2000).
I wonder what the percentage of cars with this failure is? And I am thinking that using Dexcool and never changing it and allowing the engine to overheat too many times may be the issue. Maybe cars that are meticulously maintained do not even have this problem? I use Prestone Extended Life anti-freeze, and change it far more often than recommended.
C'mon, share your opinion and experiences with the North Star V8 in regards to this matter.
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Go to the Engines, Northstar forum and read the sticky threads concerning head bolt failure, temp gauges, fan operation and cooling system operation.

This is a "fixit" site - everything in here is doom and gloom but it's all such a small percentage of the total number of Northstars/cars that the chances of a good experience are heavily stacked in your favor.

BUT, resist the urge to buy one of these cars on the cheap. There are turds for sale and there are creampuffs. Set your sights high.
Thank you. I have been reading about this problem since 2006 after I bought my first Aurora. But I am interested in just how common it is. Some of these forums (like the one you mention) tends to give only the one side because they are for problems solving and such. It is very difficult to get information or an idea just how common this is. Google Northstar engine and just about all you get is threads on this problem, so it gives the impression that the Northstar should be avoided, period! It just goes against my personal experience, they have all been great engines, EXCEPT for oil leaks!
If you go to the main threads page here in Engines, Northstar you'll see a sticky on head bolt/block failures. There's an unscientific poll there. That gives you a very rough idea of what to expect from year to year.

Always read the stickys in any forum of interest - they're there because it's all timeless info.


C'mon, share your opinion and experiences with the North Star V8 in regards to this matter.
These forums are filled with Northstar experiences, good and bad. No need to start yet another thread on something that's well documented since late 2002 (Site activation).


Heck, I read 8 pages of the sticky. It was enough for me. I have no intention to live my life worrying about such a costly potential problem. I will stick with my Buick and Cadillac LT-1 engines. Their Opti-spark problems are child's play by comparison (and I have not experience that problem yet either.
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