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Don't ever buy a Northstar engined vehicle this is the worst engine of all time. by Boogaloo
Started on: 01-12-2014 10:39 PM
Replies: 86 (4026 views)
Last post by: Reallybig on 01-18-2014 09:13 PM
Boogaloo
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Report this Post01-12-2014 10:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoogalooSend a Private Message to BoogalooEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Watch this video it makes so much sense . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyyP3sgW7gE
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ericjon262
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Report this Post01-12-2014 10:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ericjon262Send a Private Message to ericjon262Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
plenty of vehicles are running N*'s and having no trouble what so ever. plenty of engines have had problems over the years, and we all know the N* had problems, but that's part of hot-rodding and being an enthusiast, taking something that's not supposed to work, and making it work. or taking something sub-par, and making it over the top.
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TommyRocker
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Report this Post01-13-2014 12:18 AM Click Here to See the Profile for TommyRockerClick Here to Email TommyRockerSend a Private Message to TommyRockerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The Northstar is a pretty reliable engine that makes pretty decent power from the factory, with much more potential if you want to play with it. It DID have issues with head gaskets/head bolt threads pulling. If you pull the heads, time-sert the bolt holes, and properly install new head gaskets and torque the heads right, that problem is resolved. I've seen dyno runs breaking 1,300 hp and 8,000+ rpms with hot rodded N* without issue.

Of course, it IS easier to just give up at the first sign of trouble.

Also, why would you take advice from one of the Deliverance characters?
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jb1
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Report this Post01-13-2014 02:59 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jb1Click Here to Email jb1Send a Private Message to jb1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Well what it is is ahh well when ahh well.... how the (&^%&^ could you set and watch that whole video?

------------------


87GTseries 1 3800sc (7.597 @88.53 1.579 60ft)
(series II swap in progress)
85GT Northstar/ 4t80e
86GT 3800 n/a
Northstar Rebuild

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f85gtron
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Report this Post01-13-2014 04:56 AM Click Here to See the Profile for f85gtronSend a Private Message to f85gtronEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
i have to agree that the north* motor is Pretty good. Either follow the service bbulletin an treat your coolant, or redo the heads and threads. i sold mine @ 326k with no problems. (Cadillac concourse).
Ron
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Report this Post01-13-2014 06:56 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jb1:
...how the (&^%&^ could you set and watch that whole video?


I gave him the benefit of the doubt up to about 1 minute and 40 seconds into it. That has to be the worst analysis I've ever seen, given by the worst narrator I've ever watched. I sincerely hope Boogaloo started this thread tongue-in-cheek.

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no2pencil
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Report this Post01-13-2014 09:56 AM Click Here to See the Profile for no2pencilClick Here to Email no2pencilSend a Private Message to no2pencilEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Any abused vehicle is going to be a pile. If there was ever a 'perfect' & defect free engine or car, then every car would be manufactured with it. There is no perfect, there is no problem free vehicles. There is only progress over time. It's easy to point to neglected mechanics & declare fault of the manufacturer.

That's the thing I love about cars, it's all perspective. & the more that I feel I learn about mine, the less I have to pay some auto mechanic shop to do the work for me, & therefor the longer I can own my car.

Just my 2 cents.

TL; DR: After a long enough time span, every car is junk
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Archie
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Report this Post01-13-2014 11:31 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ArchieClick Here to visit Archie's HomePageClick Here to Email ArchieSend a Private Message to ArchieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I don't care all that much for NStars either, but I could only watch that dip...t for about 20 seconds.

I'm mostly glad he don't live next door to me.

A
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Gall757
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Report this Post01-13-2014 01:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I think I made 20 seconds.....maybe.
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Jecklen16
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Report this Post01-13-2014 01:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Jecklen16Click Here to Email Jecklen16Send a Private Message to Jecklen16Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Dumb questions... What is a Northstar engine?
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Gall757
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Report this Post01-13-2014 01:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
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Report this Post01-13-2014 02:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoogalooSend a Private Message to BoogalooEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
No question is dumb it's that just that you didnt know ... it is found in Cadillacs about 93 on and was supposed to be the flagship of GM but turned out to be an expensive piece of junk motor with head problems and too costly to rebuild.It was an after thought engine that GM built then found out they f 'up then tried to rectify later but then to each his own.

I was the owner of two N* cars that was far from being reliable thanks for roadside assistance at least the 3800sc wasn't a dud and made correct, the narrator is awful but told the truth.
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Joseph Upson
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Report this Post01-13-2014 03:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Joseph UpsonClick Here to Email Joseph UpsonSend a Private Message to Joseph UpsonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Business is about making money and surviving. My brother's Northstar showed the signs mentioned just over 100k. I believe any drivetrain that takes a car to 100k miles is a good one as far as the manufacturer is concerned and if the industry adds one more computer I think we'll really be sorry about that cash for clunkers deal that has depleted the stock of good used old cars. They're starting to build them with a little more planned obsolescence and difficulty in performing some common tasks.
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Report this Post01-13-2014 03:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for conan469Click Here to visit conan469's HomePageClick Here to Email conan469Send a Private Message to conan469Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
for what it's worth... I worked in a shop in Indianapolis area for six years, our main business was engine rebuilds. We did many northstar "rebuilds" I quoted that because of the fact that in the six years I was there we only had to replace bearings on one engine. Standard operation was insert the block, re-ring the pistons and reassemble. We did have a few issues with the inserts pulling out after a few months. So one of the machinists that worked in the race shop side of the business made his own inserts, he used 3/4 inch all-thread with a coarse thread pitch, cut them to around 1.25 inch long, threaded the insides. Then threaded the block all the way down and screwed the inserts deep into the block, we did some research and found ARP studs for a VW (I think) that fit and we had a studded northstar, and never had another problem with head gasket leaks.
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NetCam
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Report this Post01-13-2014 03:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for NetCamClick Here to visit NetCam's HomePageSend a Private Message to NetCamEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I listened for about 45 seconds, then saw it was over 14 minutes long and shut it down before the banjo music started
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Report this Post01-13-2014 03:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for conan469Click Here to visit conan469's HomePageClick Here to Email conan469Send a Private Message to conan469Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
ok tried watching the video, got less than a minute into it and had to turn it off, who the eff is this tard?
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rogergarrison
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Report this Post01-13-2014 04:08 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rogergarrisonClick Here to Email rogergarrisonSend a Private Message to rogergarrisonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
My DeVille stretch limo had a Northstar with 120K. It ran beautifully. No complaints. I only sold it because it didnt fit in my garage.
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ericjon262
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Report this Post01-13-2014 04:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ericjon262Send a Private Message to ericjon262Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
isn't it awesome how a post like this ends up in the "tech" section?

------------------
we're in desperate need of a little more religion to nurse your god-like point of view...

Built not bought... Because bolt-ons don't.

http://www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum2/HTML/119122.html

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Report this Post01-13-2014 05:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by ericjon262:

isn't it awesome how a post like this ends up in the "tech" section?





Well… err… um… I guess if you think about it, um… it's an engine.
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olejoedad
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Report this Post01-13-2014 05:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for olejoedadClick Here to Email olejoedadSend a Private Message to olejoedadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
95 Seville STS with the VIN 9 300 hp Northstar......
245,000 miles, no issues, no leaks, no fluid useage.

Scheduled service is always your friend.

Awesome drivetrain, wonderful automobile.
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Report this Post01-13-2014 06:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Custom2M4Click Here to Email Custom2M4Send a Private Message to Custom2M4Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I've had lots of north star problems. But I still love the damn things.

------------------

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Report this Post01-13-2014 07:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Neils88Click Here to Email Neils88Send a Private Message to Neils88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I lasted 1:45...just couldn't make it any further...
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Report this Post01-13-2014 09:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Boogaloo:

...turned out to be an expensive piece of junk motor with head problems and too costly to rebuild.It was an after thought engine that GM built then found out they f 'up then tried to rectify later but then to each his own.


Are you sure you're not describing the 4.9?

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who turned that guy off after a few seconds. He was simply too painful to listen to.
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Report this Post01-13-2014 10:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for olejoedadClick Here to Email olejoedadSend a Private Message to olejoedadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:

Are you sure you're not describing the 4.1?



Fixed that for ya!

[This message has been edited by olejoedad (edited 01-14-2014).]

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Boogaloo
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Report this Post01-13-2014 11:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoogalooSend a Private Message to BoogalooEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Patrick:

Are you sure you're not describing the 4.9?

Regardless of the narrator who was bad I agree the 4.9 was a reliable engine even more than a northstar and yes the 4.1 was horrible too being underpowered and using steel bolts with aluminum block I wonder what GM engineers were thinking and continued with the northstars.Fact is a 3800 is not exotic as a northstar but makes more sense than using dissimilar metals together it takes too much rebuild effort to get it right.
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Report this Post01-13-2014 11:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Working for new vehicle dealers and taking trades over to the used department, I found out that if a trade had a north star the used manager would drop the value down. He had a couple that cost $$ to repair. This is typical with all dealers. Word is the engine has issues and is expensive to repair. To me that means junk.
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Report this Post01-13-2014 11:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for IXSLR8Click Here to Email IXSLR8Send a Private Message to IXSLR8Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you know what the problem is and can fix it, the engine goes back into service.

Both my N* conversions use VW head studs and the steel coarse inserts with Cometic head gaskets. No issues under WOT either. Though the N* engine may have a unique problem in stock form, its fully reliable when corrected and or modified.

You could say the same thing about the Fiero. They have had unique problems and when they are corrected and or modified, work reliably.
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fastblack
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Report this Post01-13-2014 11:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fastblackSend a Private Message to fastblackEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
05 GXP Bonneville with 112,xxx on the clock, doesn't use a drop of anything.

I'll agree with anybody saying that the rightful place for a camshaft is below the intake but dang the N* is a fun motor. Yeah the 3800 is a better motor, but that doesn't mean the N* is junk. I am going to guess the OP also thinks the Quad 4 is "junk"??
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Bloozberry
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Report this Post01-14-2014 08:09 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Boogaloo:
...using steel bolts with aluminum block I wonder what GM engineers were thinking and continued with the northstars.


OK... I see now that you didn't post this thread "tongue-in-cheek", that you were actually serious. So now I'm curious to know what material you think the bolts are made from in every other application where the engine isn't cast iron.
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Report this Post01-14-2014 08:56 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoogalooSend a Private Message to BoogalooEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Good morning Blooze this thread has sentimental value to you and your build , what I am saying is from the problem was discovered on the first or second run it should have been corrected by timeserting the blocks and saving potential problems, I drove my Seville for years and it would never die but my Eldo took a dive at 93k and our Brougham also had the same fate.We are not talking hot rodding here like you did and going over the whole motor that is different because
the problem was corrected.

What I am talking is normal everyday use,how come a 350 sbc last for years or even a decade with no problem like that even Toyotas and Nissans motor last way longer so why not the nprthstar?.So as I said the presenter was bad but he was rambling but he has facts to back it up, the design of the motor has high aspirations but in stock form is JUNK admit it .
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Bloozberry
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Report this Post01-14-2014 09:55 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
There is no denying that some early Northstars were prone to porosity problems leading to premature head bolt thread failures in the block. When you consider that only some engines were affected by this, and that it took several years to start appearing, that GM implemented the Timesert modification to fix those engine that failed, and that GM redesigned the block a couple years later in part to cure the problem, I'd say the engine was going through typical development cycle for a brand new design. To say they are junk is just a little over-dramatic. Every engine type including the SBC you mentioned had problems. Even after 50 years of continual development (1954-2003), the SBC still suffered from the occasional blooper. Remember the nylon-faced timing gears? Even the SBC occasionally suffered from casting porosity problems.
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Report this Post01-14-2014 10:36 AM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I'm still wondering about what material one should be using for bolts, with aluminum blocks.
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Report this Post01-14-2014 12:19 PM Click Here to See the Profile for css9450Click Here to Email css9450Send a Private Message to css9450Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:

I'm still wondering about what material one should be using for bolts, with aluminum blocks.



Wood, perhaps. Or Play-Doh.
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Report this Post01-14-2014 12:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for carbonSend a Private Message to carbonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
JB Weld, 5 Minute Epoxy...
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Will
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Report this Post01-14-2014 01:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have reservations about posting good info to this thread, considering that OP is *probably* just trolling.

The Northstars have two weak points.

1. Corrosion of head bolt threads leading to loss of head bolt clamp load leading to loss of head gasket seal.

This has plagued the Northstar for *WAY* too much of its production history.
I think that this is a design flaw.
I think that GM knew what the problem was for several years before they fixed the design.
The preventive measure to minimize the chance of this happening is *RELIGIOUS* annual coolant flushes. Because the anti-corrosion additives in the coolant are depleted during engine run time, a periodic replenishment of these additives can slow or stop the process whereby the head bolt threads fail. The damage to the head bolt threads is cumulative, so *ANY* missed coolant flush interval contributes to the eventual failure of the head bolt threads.
As most Cadillac owners couldn't be bothered to have this done, many Cadillacs suffer head bolt thread failure.

I think that the problem is a somewhat exotic process in aluminum alloys called "Stress Corrosion Cracking". It refers to the tendency of aluminum alloys to be more susceptible to corrosion (and thus inter-granular cracking) when stressed beyond a specific minimum threshold.
The Northstar uses 11 x 1.5mm head bolt threads. The LS1 uses 11 x 2.0 head bolt threads. The LS1 has never had the problems with head bolt threads that the Northstar does. This makes me think that the smaller Northstar thread pitch increases the "stress intensity factor" on the material in the threads to the point at which they are susceptible to stress corrosion cracking.
GM changed to 11x2.0 head bolts for the Northstars starting with the '04 model year. From what I have read, the 11 x 2.0 engines are *COMPLETELY IMMUNE* to the head bolt thread corrosion failure mode.
Also, *ALL OTHER* modern aluminum block GM engines (LS, Ecotec, High Feature V6) use 11 x 2.0 head bolt threads and none of them have the head bolt thread corrosion problem.

Ref: http://www.timesert.com/html/gm.html for a list of common GM head bolt thread repair info.
If you look up the kit part numbers on ebay (or everywhere else) you'll find that the Northstar repair kits command prices of ~$400, while the other kits can be had for much less, even though the *NEW* prices for the kits are all comparable. This indicates that the demand for the Northstar kits *FAR* exceeds the demand for the other kits, indicating that the prevalence of Northstar head bolt repairs is far greater than that for the other engine families. Meaning: Even though the other engines fail sometimes, they don't fail at the rate at which the Northstar engines fail.

Once inserts are installed in the head bolt threads, the potential failure point is eliminated and the block is good for forever, as well as significantly stronger than stock and suitable for performance use.

2. Carbon deposits on the piston rings resulting in loss of capability to clear oil from the bores resulting in oil consumption and oil smoke.

When the Northstar was designed, GM/Cadillac was chasing Mercedes and BMW customers. As Mercs and Bimmers routinely traverse the Autobahn at 150 mph, spending long periods of time turning more than 5000 RPM, GM thought that they needed an engine which would perform comparably. They designed the Northstar to do this and to produce its HP in an RPM range that would make sense for this use.
In order to assure that the engine would survive extended periods at high RPM and high throttle, GM used an aggressive hone pattern on the cylinder walls in order to retain oil to lubricate the piston and rings adequately at high RPM. This works great as long as the driver ACTUALLY USES wide open throttle.
Because the typical Cadillac driver is old and never uses more than 30% throttle, the engine never sees the temps, pressures, piston speeds and piston loads necessary to knock the carbon deposits off the bores and rings. The deposits eventually accumulate until the rings have so much carbon on them that they stop being able to clear oil from the bores. At this point, the engine starts to consume oil and smoke.
To correct the problem, the dealership follows a procedure to introduce carb cleaner to the engine and let it soak long enough to remove some of the carbon deposits. A single application doesn't remove all the deposits, but typically stops the engine from smoking. The problem WILL come back if the driver doesn't change his/her driving style.
To avoid the problem, just drive the car like you stole it. Use WOT for several seconds at a time (e.g. accelerating with foot-on-floor from 0-5 mph to interstate speeds or beyond) not less frequently than every week.

This is *NOT* a design flaw. This is a problem of use.
FACT: Performance engines consume oil. Being able to continuously operate at high RPM *REQUIRES* having enough oil on the bores to properly lubricate the piston and rings. GM's specification of 1 qt of oil per 1,500 miles is within BMW and Mercedes specs for their engines. BMW's S62 engine used in the E39 M5 is *FAMOUS* for rapidly consuming oil when driven on a race course.
Only with brand new laser etching technologies are MFG's getting to the point that they can build engines which can turn RPM for long periods with reduced oil consumption.

 
quote
Originally posted by Boogaloo:
using steel bolts with aluminum block I wonder what GM engineers were thinking and continued with the northstars.Fact is a 3800 is not exotic as a northstar but makes more sense than using dissimilar metals together it takes too much rebuild effort to get it right.


This is a really dumb point of view. As I mentioned above, LS1's and many other GM aluminum block engines use steel head bolts in aluminum blocks without any problems. You also mentioned that Nissan and Toyota have aluminum block engines. Clearly the problem is *NOT* dissimilar metals.

The Northstar has its shortcomings. This doesn't mean it's junk. The basic structure of the engine is strong enough to make extreme horsepower and its lubrication system is good enough to turn extreme RPM. The Northstar is heavily patterned after the Porsche 928 V8, but eliminates many of the problems the 928's have. With production numbers in the MILLIONS (that is, *FAR* more numerous than BMW and Mercedes V8's), parts are cheap, and with the quality of engineering that went into the basic design, the bang for buck factor is quite good.

There are a couple of characteristics that make it more complex to build effectively than a good old SBC... Two of these factors are the requirement to sert the head bolt holes and the different honing techniques required by the ultra-hard bore liners. These just mean that the engine is effectively off-limits to ignorant rednecks and people who don't know what they're doing, which is fine by me.

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 01-14-2014).]

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Report this Post01-14-2014 02:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
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Originally posted by Will:
This is a really dumb point of view. As I mentioned above, LS1's and many other GM aluminum block engines use steel head bolts in aluminum blocks without any problems. You also mentioned that Nissan and Toyota have aluminum block engines. Clearly the problem is *NOT* dissimilar metals.


Exactly. But I really wanted to know what ARP was doing wrong all these years, with their bolts being used in many championship winning race cars, many making several thousand BHP. Clearly Boogaloo knows something they and we do not.

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Boogaloo
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Report this Post01-14-2014 03:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoogalooSend a Private Message to BoogalooEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
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Originally posted by Will:

I have reservations about posting good info to this thread, considering that OP is *probably* just trolling.


This is not about trolling but just stating facts from personal experience of having two well maintained Cadillac suffer the same fate taking it to the dealer who exchanged it for another due to down time and cost from my deductable and have the same thing happen a year later after the service contract expired.Hot rodding is all well and good when you have a project car but having to $4000+ to replace it show me the fun doing so.The box Chevy Caprice still runs since day one with the 350 sbc only water pump,plug and wires, and fires up every day now that is fun to grandma's pocket book.
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Darth Fiero
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Report this Post01-14-2014 03:16 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Darth FieroClick Here to visit Darth Fiero's HomePageClick Here to Email Darth FieroSend a Private Message to Darth FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
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Originally posted by Will:

These just mean that the engine is effectively off-limits to ignorant rednecks and people who don't know what they're doing, which is fine by me.



QUOTE OF THE YEAR
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Report this Post01-14-2014 03:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoogalooSend a Private Message to BoogalooEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
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Originally posted by dobey:


Exactly. But I really wanted to know what ARP was doing wrong all these years, with their bolts being used in many championship winning race cars, many making several thousand BHP. Clearly Boogaloo knows something they and we do not.


What I am talking about is not going to the salvage yard to pick up a used engine to put in the family car after paying all that money for it only to have it happen before on the previous car,regardless who made the bolts the narrator said exactly what happened to me.Now I am paying for a CTSV for the next few years what a car now I am happy.
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Report this Post01-14-2014 03:35 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoogalooSend a Private Message to BoogalooEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
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Originally posted by Darth Fiero:


QUOTE OF THE YEAR


Gosh Will what makes you think you are more smarter than a redneck? that is not cool,I am not a redneck but them NASCAR guys ain't too shabby so next time don't put your foot in your mouth.
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