Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

General topics not pertaining to one particular type of engine, or topics regarding non-Cadillac engines.

Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby dave brode » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:09 pm

All,

A buddy of mine is looking at a nice 70K mile '97 Eldo. Are those engines known for the head bolt thread issue? Any other issues?

The seller wants 2,800 with std wheels, or $3,000 with a set of factory chromed wheels. Fair?

TIA
Dave
Last edited by dave brode on Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ole truck. 11.7-1 CR 514". Home ported 250s, roofs raised .150", MTS 2.19/1.84, ported edel, 850 dp, elgin flat tappet 260/256 at 50, .640/.624 minus lash on a 114, Ferrea tool steel lifters, comp 930s, potter shaft rockers. S-P TH400, 4.10s. 11.85 at 112, more to come, I hope. Edit: 11.70 at 111 in head wind with 4.33s. Edit: 11.66 at 114.8.
User avatar
dave brode
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 13744
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:02 pm
Location: Frostburg, Maryland

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby 73eldoconvert » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:23 pm

As far as I know its all.  I have not worked on or read about the current generation but the first two for sure had the issue.  There was not a problem the letting go the issue was when you removed them 9 times out of 10 the threads would come with.  The few people I know that took them apart and thought they looked ok were doing it again.  One guy found out when he started trying to torque them the other guy after a few weeks of running.  With the proper timesert kit its a pretty easy job only thing you need thats not in the kit is a drill.  I see the kits for sale all the time, often used once.  The inserts are cheap.  Its the step bits, special taps, and alignment plates that are expensive and because its aluminum they usually hold up pretty well.  I dont think they are any more prone to head gasket failures than any other aluminum engine.  Aluminum engines just dont put up with poor maintenance and overheating like cast iron did. 
Call me TJ unless you would rather spell out 73eldoconvert

St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

73 Eldo convert... mostly stock w/Megasquirt TBI
93 Mustang convert, 96 Suburban 6.5 TD, 81 Riviera 5.7 diesel, 13 JettaSportWagon TDI
User avatar
73eldoconvert
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 4166
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:38 pm
Location: St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby Cadillac CID » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:39 pm

Dave, yes they are,done many.infact I just sold a 97 ETC today that I bought with the headgaskets needing to be done. Got $4800.00 It was pearl white and 107k on the clock. Once the repair is made the engine is fine for a good long time.Any ??? I'll be happy to walk them tru. Its not that it is a hard job but does take the proper resourses and no corners cut.
User avatar
Cadillac CID
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 546
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:32 pm

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby dave brode » Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:23 pm

Thanks guys. I'll tell him that if he ever has to pull the heads, he'll be looking at extra money to fix the bolt holes.

The work can be done with the engine in the car, and no block machining [decking] needed?

Dave
ole truck. 11.7-1 CR 514". Home ported 250s, roofs raised .150", MTS 2.19/1.84, ported edel, 850 dp, elgin flat tappet 260/256 at 50, .640/.624 minus lash on a 114, Ferrea tool steel lifters, comp 930s, potter shaft rockers. S-P TH400, 4.10s. 11.85 at 112, more to come, I hope. Edit: 11.70 at 111 in head wind with 4.33s. Edit: 11.66 at 114.8.
User avatar
dave brode
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 13744
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:02 pm
Location: Frostburg, Maryland

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby JW » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:16 pm

  Yes you can

  Do not use the handycerts tho use timeserts or the other ones GM/Ford sell for repair ive done more than my share of them


JW
john@500cid.com

"It is not necessary to build a swimming pool to determine that a bowling ball won't float." .....Zora Arkus-Duntov

"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."
— Patrick Henry
User avatar
JW
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 3219
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:00 pm
Location: Ashland Ohio

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby 73eldoconvert » Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:08 am

I have never seen it done in the car, seems like there is something to do with the timing chains that can really screw you over because you cant get all the covers off but I dont remember the details.  As always there can be a lot of crap in the way and if its transverse the back one is a real pain.
Call me TJ unless you would rather spell out 73eldoconvert

St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

73 Eldo convert... mostly stock w/Megasquirt TBI
93 Mustang convert, 96 Suburban 6.5 TD, 81 Riviera 5.7 diesel, 13 JettaSportWagon TDI
User avatar
73eldoconvert
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 4166
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:38 pm
Location: St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby dave brode » Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:44 am

Thanks TJ,
Dave
ole truck. 11.7-1 CR 514". Home ported 250s, roofs raised .150", MTS 2.19/1.84, ported edel, 850 dp, elgin flat tappet 260/256 at 50, .640/.624 minus lash on a 114, Ferrea tool steel lifters, comp 930s, potter shaft rockers. S-P TH400, 4.10s. 11.85 at 112, more to come, I hope. Edit: 11.70 at 111 in head wind with 4.33s. Edit: 11.66 at 114.8.
User avatar
dave brode
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 13744
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:02 pm
Location: Frostburg, Maryland

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby 73eldoconvert » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:38 am

Image

http://www.timesert.com/html/gm.html

Those are the smaller kits I have seen and seem to end up on ebay and CL all the time. I think the official kit the dealers were forced to get from GM had a larger plate that did more holes at the same time.  It also included some plates to do other things that happen along the way like perhaps manifold studs.

Look around their site, you will see that the northstar is not the only kit they make.  Just about every aluminum engine seems to have a kit.  I saw import stuff listed even harley.
Call me TJ unless you would rather spell out 73eldoconvert

St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

73 Eldo convert... mostly stock w/Megasquirt TBI
93 Mustang convert, 96 Suburban 6.5 TD, 81 Riviera 5.7 diesel, 13 JettaSportWagon TDI
User avatar
73eldoconvert
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 4166
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:38 pm
Location: St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby 73eldoconvert » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:52 am

Biggest issue with Northstars (other than the usual maintenance that is critical with aluminum) is they tended to 'use' more oil than you would expect from a top of the line cutting edge motor.  Other thing is since they are high performance engines they dont do well if you drive them like you would expect a typical stereo type cadillac owner to use them.  When driven just short trips on side streets to church they had issues with carbon build up everywhere that eventually causes big problems.  GM came up with a pretty nasty de carbon process just for that reason.  Once you get em clean you just need to stomp on them from time to time and they like a road trip every now and then.

They are really neat engines.  The basic design is pretty standard now throughout the industry but was one of the first when it came out in 92?.  I just saw a 06 nissan motor apart and many aspects of it looked like a baby caddy.  I suspect a lot of it is more due to manufacturing processes that are now possible or practical.  I wish they were not so dang wide.  If they were a bit more narrow I have all sorts of places I would like to put one.  They are about as wide on top as the Hemi's. 
Call me TJ unless you would rather spell out 73eldoconvert

St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

73 Eldo convert... mostly stock w/Megasquirt TBI
93 Mustang convert, 96 Suburban 6.5 TD, 81 Riviera 5.7 diesel, 13 JettaSportWagon TDI
User avatar
73eldoconvert
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 4166
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:38 pm
Location: St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby randydupree » Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:52 am

i raced northstars in my land speed racer.
all stock bottom ends.
when i blew my last one i went looking for engines,they are everywhere,and i brought home half a dozen complete engines.
i never did get the heads of any of them.
the head bolts are allen headed,and the head is down in a well.
i broke many sockets trying to get the heads off,i heated the bolts,i tried everything i could think of,i never got the heads off.
i scrapped the whole pile of them..
randydupree
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 1620
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 6:04 pm

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby cadiwumpas » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:11 am

  I realize that you can timesert them on the car,but why torture yourself? Other than
the brake lines and AC hoses(that aren't really a big deal) its straight forward unplug
and play just to drop the cradle out and have all the access you could ever dream of.
Of course having a lift helps a LOT... :cloud9:
Image
User avatar
cadiwumpas
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 847
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:44 pm
Location: Central Florida,Polk City

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby 73eldoconvert » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:58 am

Thats the way I have always seen it done.  I cant imagine what it would feel like leaning over for that long working on the back head.

I like the wagons in the picture.
Call me TJ unless you would rather spell out 73eldoconvert

St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

73 Eldo convert... mostly stock w/Megasquirt TBI
93 Mustang convert, 96 Suburban 6.5 TD, 81 Riviera 5.7 diesel, 13 JettaSportWagon TDI
User avatar
73eldoconvert
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 4166
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:38 pm
Location: St.Paul/Mpls MN USA

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby Cadillac CID » Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:43 pm

Thats the professional way for sure. I couldnt image trying to drill the block with the engine in the car. with a lift it really is quick to drop the assemble. I love buying these cars with this problem :cool:
User avatar
Cadillac CID
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 546
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:32 pm

Re: Northstar head bolt and other issues - all years?

Postby dave brode » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:13 pm

Wow, sounds like a pia, either way. Thanks for the input, fellows.

Dave
ole truck. 11.7-1 CR 514". Home ported 250s, roofs raised .150", MTS 2.19/1.84, ported edel, 850 dp, elgin flat tappet 260/256 at 50, .640/.624 minus lash on a 114, Ferrea tool steel lifters, comp 930s, potter shaft rockers. S-P TH400, 4.10s. 11.85 at 112, more to come, I hope. Edit: 11.70 at 111 in head wind with 4.33s. Edit: 11.66 at 114.8.
User avatar
dave brode
One Sick Caddy Freak
 
Posts: 13744
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:02 pm
Location: Frostburg, Maryland


Return to General Tech

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests