What To Do If Your Northstar Engine Fails

Published: 28th June 2010
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The Northstar engine is top of the line and has previously been hailed as one of the top ten engines by Ward's Auto World. In 1993, cars such as the Cadillac Allante, Eldorado and Seville STS were among the first to be made with the Northstar engine. Manufacturers are working on an updated version of this engine which is expected to produce up to 750 horsepower. Even though the engine has few problems, requires less maintenance and is fuel efficient there are some concerns you should be aware of if you own a new Cadillac or used Cadillac engine.

There are particular problems you may run into with your Cadillac if it runs with the Northstar engine. If your used Cadillac engine fails to run, the first thing you should do is check to see if it is overheating. Coolant may be leaking into the engine. Look for white smoke coming from the tail pipes, the smell of coolant odor coming out of the exhaust pipe, the engine temperature increasing with acceleration, oil that is either creamy white or light brown or massive oil leaks coming out of the rear main seal area.

Finding a damaged head gasket in a used Cadillac engine is common when it fails. A compression test, leakdown test and coolant pressure test can determine whether or not the head gasket is blown. The Northstar engine becomes too hot when coolant is not maintained at ideal levels and this causes the threads of the gasket to dissolve over time. Once the gasket is damaged typically the engine is discarded because the entire used Cadillac engine must be taken out which can be costly, time consuming and with poor results. Few repair shops even have the parts available to repair the Northstar engine. A better solution is to replace the damaged engine with a fully functioning used Cadillac engine that has reinforced bolts.

The Northstar V8 engine is an interference engine which means the timing belt is part of the internal combustion engine that controls the timing of the valves. This means that if the chains fail or disconnect the valves could hit the pistons and cause engine failure.

Another common area to check when your Northstar engine fails is whether or not there is oil leaking due to the high pressure casting process. If you have oil burning then do a ring cleaning procedure using GM cleaning kit and Kent-Moore induction/evacuation tool then change the oil.

If the engine has indeed failed then Cadillac suggests to replace it with a new engine because rebuilders don't have access to some parts needed for the repairs. It is actually cheaper to purchase an already used Cadillac engine than to repair the old one or buy a completely new one.

About: Even thought the Northstar engine is high horsepower and is fuel efficient, a knowledge of possible issues with the engine can prevent future headaches and in most cases it is more cost efficient to replace a faulty engine with a used Cadillac engine.

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