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Northstar rebuild: Will style by Will
Started on: 12-29-2003 09:00 PM
Replies: 870 (63475 views)
Last post by: Rickady88GT on 12-02-2018 11:13 PM
Will
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Report this Post06-15-2009 12:02 AM 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

Back from Navy training for two weeks. In between getting my house rehab done, I'll be working on this some more.

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Will
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Report this Post06-17-2009 05:32 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

Valvetrain is fully built. I've taken pictures, but had other things going on as well, so I've been doing rather than posting.

I'm tracking down all the itty bitty parts for the timing drive and should be able to get the engine buttoned up tonight.

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30+mpg
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Report this Post06-17-2009 05:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 30+mpgClick Here to Email 30+mpgSend a Private Message to 30+mpgEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Do you have an ET for engine start (as in fired up and running)?

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Will
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Report this Post06-17-2009 07:31 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

Taking a dinner break.

I did manage to dig up the can with the timing drive parts from the first assembly of this engine three or whatever years ago. The guides and tensioner shoes only had ~100 miles on them, so they were practically new. The tensioners were the originals from the first swap, but they operate in an oil bath, so they never wear out.

The timing drive is built. I just have to find the right oil pump and bolt it on, then I can button up the front cover and cam covers. On the bottom end, I just have to install the windage tray and pan pickup before I can install the pan.

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Will
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Report this Post06-17-2009 07:42 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

Trying for this weekend.

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Will
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Report this Post06-17-2009 10:38 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

Oil pump's installed. I have the cam covers, front cover, windage tray and oil pan to install.

However, I just realized I don't have the right oil pickup tube handy. I'll have to go out back and dig around in the shed for one.

The early (93-95) engines have a seal on the pickup tube to seal it to the oil manifold plate. In '96 (I think) they changed both so that the seal is part of the oil manifold and the pickup tube does not have an integral seal. At that time, they also changed the windage tray so that it installed under the heads of all 20 main bolts, instead of on the stud heads of the inner two rows. This saved them the cost of the nuts *and* the extra cost of the stud heads over normal bolts. They also, obnoxiously, changed the location of the alignment dowel between the lower crank case and oil manifold plate. This means you can't mix crank case and oil manifold styles, even though there should be absolutely no reason NOT to mix them...

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Will
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Report this Post06-17-2009 11:12 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

Looked back through the manual and the oil pickups are probably the same, but the early engines had a loose seal, while the later ones had the integrated seal. I'll see if I can scare one up tomorrow...

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Will
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Report this Post06-18-2009 09:09 AM 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 was able to track down an early style pickup tube. It's a bit rusty and the seal's not in good shape, so I'm considering using one of my pristine later model pickup tubes and sealing it to the oil manifold with RTV.

I also found the nuts to secure the early style windage tray. That was a relief. I was concerned that I might have to pull ALL F@#$ING TWENTY main bolts to use the later style windage tray, and then swap from the stud-headed bolts to the later standard bolts.

Gotta deal with the mods to my new house for a few hours, then back to what REALLY matters...

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Report this Post06-18-2009 08:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ALLTRBOSend a Private Message to ALLTRBOEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Do come this way for your test drive. I want to see the MOST RELIABLE 300HP ENGINE EVAR!1!!1

I never have had a properly functioning ride in that car.

G'luck!

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Will
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Report this Post06-18-2009 10:50 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

Was planning to go to Capitol, remember? Although Google says it's about the same distance and slightly less time to Dinwiddie.

Dyno break-in fell through, though, so I need some lookouts... Doing anything Saturday?

Intake and new Gucci stainless steel fuel rail are installed. I'm about to go rough clean the oil pan so I can throw it in the dishwasher...

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 06-18-2009).]

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Report this Post06-19-2009 11:38 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ALLTRBOSend a Private Message to ALLTRBOEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Infinite Speed and Performance is just a few minutes from me, they have a dyno (AWD too). Call 'em up, I'll go tomorrow if you can get a spot. Heck, I'd like to know what the 1100 puts down before I sell it, too.
http://www.ispracing.com/ca...8lgr72fs2363og8gqca2

Capitol Raceway seems to be just as busy as VMP (Dinwiddie), which sucks, but Capitol is MUCH closer to me, and I hate VMP. It doesn't look like you'll get more than one run in at either place. I miss the old Thunder Valley (Oklahoma) days when I could get 9 runs in and still let the car cool between runs. Of course it's their fault that my Talon's center diff broke so I don't miss them that much.

Tomorrow I was just planning on tearing apart the 7-bolt in the '98 Talon to figure out which bearing is bad. Either way it needs a new engine so I have a small bit of time before much can happen.

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Will
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Report this Post06-19-2009 11:51 AM 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

Everything I've read about hard break-ins says that they need to be in the first few minutes of runtime... That means I'd have to trailer it up there.

Infinite Speed? Is that higher than Ludicrous Speed?

Oil pan's currently in the dishwasher.

Damned house gets in the way of building the car...

Want me to send my contractor over there for your shower?

AWD dyno? I could drive the Goose up and see if it cracks 100 at the ground.

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 06-19-2009).]

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Will
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Report this Post06-19-2009 02:12 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

Oil pan is on and I'm piecing together all the little junk on the outside of the engine. *Most* of these items came off the previous engine, though, so they're not hard to find.

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Will
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Report this Post06-19-2009 03:49 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 spoke with AC Delco about plugs... they said that the stock is the ONLY thing that they make with that head style.

I spoke with Autolite. They said that the stock plug is the coldest they make.

I spoke with NGK. Their tech guy was able to hook me right up with exactly what I need.

Lesson: For oddball spark plugs, call NGK and don't waste your time with anybody else. They've got their act together. The tech guy was asking me about compression ratio, power adders, etc. It sounds like they have a more modular way of making plugs that allows them to put whatever guts they want in whatever head style they want.

The stock plug is a TR55GP, stock number 3403
-T is head style and thread size
-R is for resistor
-5 is for heat range
-(2nd) 5 is for extended gap (.060 stock)
-GP is for platinum

The part number the NGK tech gave me is TR6GP, stock number 5141. The 6 is the heat range and there is no extended gap option. This plug will come out of the box with ~.040 gap and can be gapped as high as .050. Even with the higher compression, the GM DIS should be able to fire .050 gap.
Carquest warehouse an hour away has them, but the local CQ won't be open tomorrow, so I'll have to run up there myself... d-oh. If I'd have taken care of this yesterday, he could have had them for me this morning.

There's also a TR7IX stock number 3690 if the 6 heat range isn't cold enough.

And the local Fisher/Federated Auto Parts can have them for me tomorrow.

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 06-19-2009).]

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Will
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Report this Post06-20-2009 12:01 AM 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

Dagonnit... I wanted to get it on the cradle tonight, but I got sidetracked.

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Report this Post06-20-2009 02:17 AM Click Here to See the Profile for tjm4funClick Here to Email tjm4funSend a Private Message to tjm4funEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

life happens. sidetracking is something most all of us have to live with.
On a positive note, I'm very happy that you saw the light. acdelco doesn't even rate as lawnmower plugs, nevermind a motor that you have gone to this length with. (if not obvious: I hate acdelco plugs)
I have had nothing but good experience with ngk plugs since I switched to them about 10 years ago. This include applications from 2 stroke outboards to marine sbc's and all my cars spanning gm, nissan, dsm, mazda and toyota. they work and last a long time.
continue with the right thing for your engine, and fook those that are impatient. you are doing what you feel is the right way, and whether we disagree on some items or not, it is your project, not theirs or mine.

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Will
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Report this Post06-21-2009 08:13 AM 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 got the engine off the stand last night and was cleaning up the flywheel to reinstall. I checked the length of the flywhweel bolts and 25mm is going to be just a smidge too long... Dammit, why does GM have to design things in odd sizes?
Actually, I guess I can't grouse at GM for Northstar flywheel bolts being an odd length...

Getrag ring gear bolts need to be 22mm long.

Industry lists 11mm bolts as a "do not use" size, while GM uses them for headbolts for everything.

I need to take about .100 off the flywheel bolts.

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Report this Post06-21-2009 09:01 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ALLTRBOSend a Private Message to ALLTRBOEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Almost there!

I was thinking that you could break it in on the street then come here and dyno it anyway.

Contractor for the shower? YES! at this point, heh. It's very pathetic that some of my cars have to take priority over the darn SHOWER.
Last night Pat and I welded a stock muffler onto his fully built Eclipse, LOL.

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Will
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Report this Post06-22-2009 03:24 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

Feh. I hate being stoopid.

The Northstar comes with a "reinforcement" for the flexplate hub. It's basically a .060 thick washer with the Northstar crank bolt pattern in it. In modifying the flywheel for the Northstar, approx .060 had to come off the back. No big... just drop the spacer behind the flywheel instead of in front of the flex plate. Except that I forgot it.
There's also room for washers under the bolt heads... the combo of these two factors means that I didn't have to (and in fact should not have) shortened the flywheel bolts. It also means that I have to pull the flywheel back off, add the appropriate parts and put it back together with unmolested bolts. Grrr...

Spent pretty much all of today moving, though... and realizing how screwed up I was with the flywheel.

However, I just spoke with a guy at the reserve center. They need me to report Friday morning and do admin work... but then they cut me loose for the weekend to report on Monday to some other command. Grrr... Well... I might be able to swing by Dinwiddie Friday or Saturday night. I'm thinking that I'll get The Mule running to drive down to Norfolk on Thursday.

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 06-22-2009).]

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Will
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Report this Post06-23-2009 08:32 AM 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

Flywheel's on the RIGHT way this time. Now I can't find the @#$%ing clutch alignment tool. May have to make a new one.

If I put two flywheel bolts next to eachother, pointing opposite directions, interlock the threads and hold the pair up to light, light gets through a small gap between the threads.

On "virgin" flywheel bolts, the gap is uniform all the way down the bolt.

On the used flywheel bolts, the gap is NOT uniform for the length of the bolt. IOW, the bolt stretch from the torque to yield spec is *visible*. Sweet.

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 06-23-2009).]

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Will
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Report this Post06-23-2009 10:45 AM 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

Made a new clutch tool out of some plastic rod hanging around. Clutch is on.

I just realized that I have to clearance the block at the lower right bellhousing mounting ear, because the Northstar pattern moved that one bolt... Here comes the die grinder.

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Will
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Report this Post06-23-2009 09:03 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

Engine's on the cradle and the cradle is hanging under the car right now. In a few minutes I'm going to go back out and bolt on the A/C compressor. I should get it into the car and mostly hooked up tonight.

I misplaced my three wire coolant temp sensor, so I have to get another one tomorrow. This means that I won't be able to fill the coolant until that sensor is in place.

I'm unfortunately going to forego the accusump and oil cooler until I return from mobilization. Time constraints are just too tight. Under normal circumstances, I'd say never let a deadline compromise the requirements of a project, but this is not a normal circumstance. I know the engine does well enough without an oil cooler... it would just do better with one.

Besides, I have to rework the engine compartment A/C lines to have room for the accusump.

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Will
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Report this Post06-24-2009 02:22 AM 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

Bleh.... car's on it's wheels. Bed.

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Will
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Report this Post06-24-2009 08:24 AM 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 should have put the transmission in the dishwasher also. The engine's all nice and clean and shiny... and it's bolted to a transmission that's grungy and grimy.

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30+mpg
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Report this Post06-24-2009 01:16 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 30+mpgClick Here to Email 30+mpgSend a Private Message to 30+mpgEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Will:I should have put the transmission in the dishwasher also. The engine's all nice and clean and shiny... and it's bolted to a transmission that's grungy and grimy.


Depends, are you going to actually drive it or just trailer it to shows?

It's been, what, 5-1/2 years since you last drove it?

[This message has been edited by 30+mpg (edited 06-24-2009).]

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Will
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Report this Post06-24-2009 04:53 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 drove it with a temporary engine in December '07 & January '08. Then the temp engine lost a head gasket and I parked it again.

The Mule spent last night on all four of its own wheels, but today it's been up and down and up and down chasing down all the little BS items that make things tough. The engine was dry, so it took a LOT of coolant. The thermostat housing had pinched its o-ring or something and leaked, so I had to drain a good bit of coolant back out of the system and fix that.

I *hate* being covered in coolant (or brake fluid, or basically any glycol), but I had to be under the car getting dripped on making sure that the thermostat & o-ring were correctly positioned in the thermostat housing. I also replaced the heater core, because I'd smelled coolant with the heater last time I had it running. The cooling system is filled now.

The tank had about 5 gallons of 1.5 year old 93 in it. I was glad I put a +12 wire in the diagnostic connector. There's also a fuel pump wire there (stock), so all I have to do to pump out the tank is jumper those two pins. I'll be dropping about 5 gallons of C16 into it for the first fire. Throwing 5-6 gallons of 93 in on top of that should give me about 104 octane, just to be safe for the break-in with high compression.

The clutch releases. I desperately need a new select cable, but the current one will work temporarily.

Everything that can be accessed from above is connected. I have a few more chores underneath, but then I should be able to fire it up.

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Report this Post06-24-2009 06:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for NashcoClick Here to visit Nashco's HomePageClick Here to Email NashcoSend a Private Message to NashcoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Good progress, Will. It's amazing what a deadline can do to speed up progress on projects, huh?

Bryce

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Will
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Report this Post06-24-2009 06:33 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

Feh. There are lots of little things like reworking the A/C lines and adding oil cooler/accusump that I'm not going to do until later due to the deadline.

I have all the little jobs taken care of except designing the tensioner adapter for the new accessory drive. That shouldn't be hard, as long as I can find the damned alternator bolt that disappeared... yes, the 3" long one from the bottom of the alternator... not the others that are easily replaced.

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Will
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Report this Post06-24-2009 08:12 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

Found it. I just had to go out to the garage with my car keys as I was about to go get the replacement, and the old one showed up.

The accessories are all bolted on and set up. I'm playing with a different tensioner (pulls the opposite direction) and a different arrangement of the belt to give more crank pulley wrap and allow a smaller alternator bracket.

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Report this Post06-24-2009 08:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Rickady88GTClick Here to Email Rickady88GTSend a Private Message to Rickady88GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Pics?

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Report this Post06-24-2009 08:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cptsnoopyClick Here to Email cptsnoopySend a Private Message to cptsnoopyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Vids? Ok, given that you are under a severe time crunch we'll have to let it go this time...

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Report this Post06-24-2009 09:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ALLTRBOSend a Private Message to ALLTRBOEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I just talked with him, he does have pics but he won't be able to get them up yet for the aforementioned reason. They will be eventually, though (hopefully before too long).

I'm trying to convince him to make it over here (a few hours away) before he leaves, if he does I can probably record some quick video with my camcorder. If everyone helps pressure him into it, he may cave.

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Report this Post06-24-2009 09:35 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cptsnoopyClick Here to Email cptsnoopySend a Private Message to cptsnoopyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by ALLTRBO:

I just talked with him, he does have pics but he won't be able to get them up yet for the aforementioned reason. They will be eventually, though (hopefully before too long).

I'm trying to convince him to make it over here (a few hours away) before he leaves, if he does I can probably record some quick video with my camcorder. If everyone helps pressure him into it, he may cave.


Pics! Pics! Pics! Vids! Vids! Vids!. You can do it Will!!!!

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Will
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Report this Post06-24-2009 10:07 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

Uh-oh, I have a fan club. Maybe Cliff will move this thread to the Construction Zone if I put up more pics.

My ideas for the accessory drive won't work. What looked like a slick belt routing when the engine was out of the car puts the tensioner in the perfect place to run into the battery tray with the engine in the car. So the idea I had is scratched... However, I do have another one, but that one will be much more time consuming to implement, as I have to make an idler pulley mount that picks up a half-dozen or so of the front cover bolts.

So anyway, I'll put the accessory drive back the old way and let the car down tonight. Tomorrow I'll give it a final inspection, start it and break it in.

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Report this Post06-26-2009 09:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ALLTRBOSend a Private Message to ALLTRBOEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

It must be running, he hasn't posted here in two days.

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Will
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Report this Post06-26-2009 09:43 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

FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!

With a flick of my wrist, I bring my creation to life. It rumbles, grumbles, growls, *SNARLS* and calms to purr like a mountain lion. I prod it with my right foot and it jeers "I hunger! Where are the Mustangs?". I stab it with my right foot and it thunders across the valley "I FEAST! BRING ME A CORVETTE!".

At least that's what it was like in my mind.

The engine primed nicely and fired more or less without incident.

I poured about 5 gallons of 112 octane into the tank, then filled it with 93. I couldn't get all the old gas out, so I wanted to dilute it as much as possible. The resultint mixture should be about 101 octane and should run an 11.5:1 engine just fine.

Due to time constraints, I hadn't had the injectors cleaned or gotten new plug wires.
I drove it around for a few minutes until the temp got up. The temp came up and settled in, but then gradually crept up. As I was coming back, the temp gauge fluctuated distinctly as I crested a hill; this means air in the system. Since I'd been very careful filling it, this told me I most likely had a leak. When I got back to the hizzouse and popped the decklid, the joint between the thermostat housing and the waterpump housing was gently misting coolant all over the left side of my engine bay. Grrr... That SonofaB@#$% is getting some F#@%ing Permatex or RTV next time it's apart. I'm not putting up with that crap anymore. That joint had leaked when I was filling the cooling system, so I took it apart and carefully reseated the o-ring when I put it back together. It stayed sealed when filling the system, but the increase in pressure from the initial heat cycle made it leak. Annoying, but could be worse.

The engine didn't quite run right. It did have a miss. My amuptated Caddy instrument panel told me that the integrator was 143 for the front bank and 105 for the rear bank. My half-assed program for the Caddy computer locks the BLM's at 128, so all I had to work from were the integrator values. So the computer thinks that the front bank is lean and the rear bank is rich. I can believe the the front bank would be lean because I found a serious nick/gouge in the #8 plug wire... so that could be a misfire. The O2 sensor would register the extra oxygen as lean and the computer would add fuel.

The rear bank registers rich. Basically the only thing that could cause this is running rich. I suspect that I may have an injector problem, since the injectors had been sitting a while and I did not have them cleaned/flowed.

However, the most important aspect of the test drive was that the engine DID NOT SMOKE.
On the most basic level, the build is a success. Even if nothing else about the engine is any better than stock, it is at least a viable engine to use in a car.

While it did have a miss, it still ran on 7 cylinders and definitely had power that I hadn't felt in a long time. Acceleration to any speed I tried was still effortless... just not quite as brutal as it should have been.

I am slightly concerned about fuel wash down in the missing cylinder, but total run time is probably 10-15 minutes at this point, so I don't think I could have done anything to it yet. Fixing the miss should just be a matter of tune-up issues, like plug wires and injector maintenance/replacement. Fixing the coolant spray should also be straightforward. Unfortunately, I have ZERO time to do any of that, so I'll have to leave instructions with my dad for him to do it.

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cptsnoopy
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Report this Post06-27-2009 01:42 AM Click Here to See the Profile for cptsnoopyClick Here to Email cptsnoopySend a Private Message to cptsnoopyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Congrats!

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Erik
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Report this Post06-27-2009 02:38 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ErikClick Here to Email ErikSend a Private Message to ErikEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I'll baby sit and break it in for ya Will while you're busy ..Trust me

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Will
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Report this Post06-27-2009 08:52 AM 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

My transmission also has the classic Getrag input shaft noise. I was idling in the driveway thinking "That can't possibly be valvetrain noise"... depress the clutch and it goes away. Hmph.

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mcaanda
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