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1987 Cadillac Sedan Deville
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142 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I sold my 87 Deville w/ 4.1 a week or so ago.
Since i had just about every late 80's to early 90's Deville.
I figure i try something new. I really like the STS/SLS from 94-97.
I wouldn't mind the STS after that up until 2004.
Just heard a lot of horror stories about the northstars.
Is there any way to prevent the headgasket failure issues ?!
I know someone who have a 94 SLS and she haven't had any problems with it.
Now i know the 92-93 Sevilles have the 4.9 but not impressed with the interior.
 

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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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20,214 Posts
I think the '93 STS got the first Northstar - along with the ETC Eldo - and the Allante -
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a pre 2000 Northstar motor is not guaranteed to have the pulled head bolt problem -

but there were so many improvements to the 2000+ motors - -
including longer head bolts - and roller tappets -
I wouldn't even consider anything older than a 2000 -

I would also recommend an SLS over an STS
if you are looking at anything with close to 100K miles -

the "ACTIVE" suspension in the STS is a LOT more expensive to replace -
and few - if any drivers could tell the difference -

plus - the SLS will get slightly better gas mileage -
 

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1987 Cadillac Sedan Deville
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142 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
a pre 2000 Northstar motor is not guaranteed to have the pulled head bolt problem -

but there were many improvements -
including longer head bolts - and roller tappets starting in 2000 -
I wouldn't even consider anything older than a 2000 -

I would also recommend an SLS over an STS
if you are looking at anything with close to 100K miles -

the "ACTIVE" suspension in the STS is a LOT more expensive to replace -
and few - if any drivers can tell the difference -

plus - the SLS will get slightly better gas mileage -
I heard that same thing about suspension being expensive for the STS.
That the SLS model is a lot better for different reasons.
Hopefully i can find one with a good maintenance record.
Just want to try something different and more power then the usual Caddy's I've had.
 

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98 eldo/KD54 w/N37,T96,QA1,D55,DS3,U1Z. U3R next
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2,125 Posts
I love Northstars.

If you can fix the issues, you'll eventually love the power, the smoothness, the ride and for me the gadgets.

Unfortunately, this isn't a powerplant for everyone. Some people like the simplicity of other motors. Yet, even though this powertrain will make you use a few choice words at times you can't beat the bang for the buck.

You just have to be frugal and careful when repairing.

In time there will an ETC and Seville added to my fleet........
 

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Registered
1987 Cadillac Sedan Deville
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142 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I love Northstars.

If you can fix the issues, you'll eventually love the power, the smoothness, the ride and for me the gadgets.

Unfortunately, this isn't a powerplant for everyone. Some people like the simplicity of other motors. Yet, even though this powertrain will make you use a few choice words at times you can't beat the bang for the buck.

You just have to be frugal and careful when repairing.

In time there will an ETC and Seville added to my fleet........

That's exactly what i want and love about Cadillacs.
I need POWER and the smoothness and all the luxury amenities.
I didn't get the power i wanted from the HT4100 in my 87 that i just recently sold.
Beautiful car with only 88k miles but i wasn't happy with the motor.
But I've made up my mind to shop around for an SLS.

A SLS is a long way from a 4.1 V8 engine and i am sure i will be happy with it.
Cadillac should be ashamed of the design of that so called " POWERPLANT ". I hate the 4.1!
 

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98 eldo/KD54 w/N37,T96,QA1,D55,DS3,U1Z. U3R next
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2,125 Posts
The 4100, unfortunately never could live up to what it claimed it could .

The change from the 4100 to the northstar, well it'll be like a chevette to corvette. If you get my drift.....
 

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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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20,214 Posts
the 4100 was the lamest excuse for a Cadillac engine - EVER -
the 4.5 and 4.9 were very good - and reliable -

I haven't had any problems with either of my Northstar powered cars -
so I like them -
 

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1987 Cadillac Sedan Deville
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142 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
the 4100 was the lamest excuse for a Cadillac engine - EVER -
the 4.5 and 4.9 were very good - and reliable -

I haven't had any problems with either of my Northstar powered cars -
so I like them -

I Agree.....I believe that most people neglect the Northstar which make them go to shit.
just like with any car if you don't keep up on maintenance.
I also owned a 4.5 and 4.9 in the past and noticed a big difference then the 4.1
I never had problems out of those motors and were indeed very reliable.
 

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2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
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26,323 Posts
Other than coolant and oil changes, it's almost HARD to "neglect" a Northstar (the engine itself) The only "tuneup" they require, is a plug and wire change every 100,000K.
 

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2001 Deville
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115 Posts
My neighbor bought an 01 Deville with a blown head gasket thinking it would be a bargain, but it was a nightmare.

I did the work and since my driveway is on a steep incline, I couldn't raise the car to get the engine out, so I did
the job with the engine in the car, 1st mistake. Next, when I replaced the heads, the 'dreaded pulled head bolt' problem
reared it's ugly head, so I put the project on hold while I looked for a kit. I got one on eBay for $375 (including the inserts)
and completed the job.

Removing the water pump pulley requires a special pulley puller that also installs it properly (I borrowed one from the Cadillac
Dealer believe it or not).

I will never do another one unless the engine is out of the car (The proper way to do it), but this job is a pain no matter what,
that's why mechanics charge quite a bit to do it.

There are 2 ways to prevent the head gasket issue, 1) buy a Caddy with the head gasket already done and 2) don't buy a
Caddy with a Northstar. Any other way you are takong a chance.

Ian
 

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Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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71,014 Posts
I did the job with the engine in the car, 1st mistake. Next, when I replaced the heads, the 'dreaded pulled head bolt' problem reared it's ugly head, so I put the project on hold while I looked for a kit. I got one on eBay for $375 (including the inserts)
and completed the job.
Your 2nd mistake was not having the insert or stud kit on hand to begin with - that's the only reason to remove the heads on a Northstar: To insert/stud the block. The cylinder block bolt hole(s) have failed, leading to head gasket failure. Remove the heads, replace the gaskets and bolt it all back together without doing studs or inserts and you're doomed from the start.

(........... and the latest inserts are either Time BigSerts or Norm Huhn's NS300L.)
 

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1987 Cadillac Sedan Deville
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142 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
My neighbor bought an 01 Deville with a blown head gasket thinking it would be a bargain, but it was a nightmare.

I did the work and since my driveway is on a steep incline, I couldn't raise the car to get the engine out, so I did
the job with the engine in the car, 1st mistake. Next, when I replaced the heads, the 'dreaded pulled head bolt' problem
reared it's ugly head, so I put the project on hold while I looked for a kit. I got one on eBay for $375 (including the inserts)
and completed the job.

Removing the water pump pulley requires a special pulley puller that also installs it properly (I borrowed one from the Cadillac
Dealer believe it or not).

I will never do another one unless the engine is out of the car (The proper way to do it), but this job is a pain no matter what,
that's why mechanics charge quite a bit to do it.

There are 2 ways to prevent the head gasket issue, 1) buy a Caddy with the head gasket already done and 2) don't buy a
Caddy with a Northstar. Any other way you are takong a chance.

Ian

That's a risk to be taken supposed and hopefully i am lucky.
There are people who owned the 4.5 and 4.9 motors which are some of Cadillacs best engines ever.
And some of them suffered from headgasket failure. Which, i owned both motors
and never had any issues with it.
I really want the SLS, and i will make sure everything is A1 before i purchase. Thanks!
 

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Super Moderator
2010 DTS
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87,545 Posts
Removing the water pump pulley requires a special pulley puller that also installs it properly (I borrowed one from the Cadillac
Dealer believe it or not).
It's the same tool used to remove and install the P/S pump pulley.

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I really want the SLS, and i will make sure everything is A1 before i purchase. Thanks!
Stick with a 2000+. An '04+ is even better. Stay away from the '97-'99's, especially a '99. :tisk:
 

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1987 Cadillac Sedan Deville
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142 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
It's the same tool used to remove and install the P/S pump pulley.

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Stick with a 2000+. An '04+ is even better. Stay away from the '97-'99's, especially a '99. :tisk:
There are more 2000+ Northstars motors with blow headgaskets.
I see them everywhere..............
So more like a win and lose situation.
 

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98 eldo/KD54 w/N37,T96,QA1,D55,DS3,U1Z. U3R next
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2,125 Posts
There are more 2000+ Northstars motors with blow headgaskets.
I see them everywhere..............
So more like a win and lose situation.
Excellent. For me a win situation. I'm not afraid of this powertrain at all.
 

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'85 Fleetwood FWD
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728 Posts
I'm not sure at all that I want a Northstar powered car, but like said, the later one may be OK to own. I'm VERY familiar with the 4.1 (HT4100) It's high tech alright....:lies:
 

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1987 Cadillac Sedan Deville
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142 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Spoke with my friend today. Her 94 SLS has 214K miles on it
and the body is in great shape and it runs real smooth.
She loves it and recommend that i buy one. I was blown away when she told me
it had that many miles on it. No engine replacement or headgasket work done on it.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
Joined
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20,214 Posts
Spoke with my friend today. Her 94 SLS has 214K miles on it
and the body is in great shape and it runs real smooth.
She loves it and recommend that i buy one. I was blown away when she told me
it had that many miles on it. No engine replacement or headgasket work done on it.
---------------------------------
this is copied from post #2 -
a pre 2000 Northstar motor is not guaranteed to have the pulled head bolt problem -
 
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