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2023-06-14 19:04:31

Worst Car Engines of All Time - Cadillac Northstar

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So I've noticed a number of people are obviously upset that I did not include the Cadillac Northstar Motor as one of G MS worst engines of all time .

And I will admit it certainly has its issues which I will touch on in a minute here .

But there's one material difference between all of the engines that I listed and the North Star .

And that is that all of the engines on my previous list , even when they were working were at best unremarkable .

The one thing that you can say about a Nor star is that when it was working , it actually was a wonderful engine and I have a daily driver in 1994 Cadillac S T s with a nor star that thankfully has proven I won't say trouble free but has proven relatively reliable .

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And it is just an absolutely beautiful engine to drive , albeit caveat that to say issues are the because I do have a number of issues .

And the fact that the motor has a tendency to have a voracious appetite for eating head gaskets and blowing them out .

And this is really due to the fact that the head bolts aren't very strong .

They use fine threads as opposed to coarse threads , they're threading into an aluminum block and they're just overstressed .

That is by far the biggest weakness of the motor .

And often you'll see the cars that use nor stars have very little residual value because people know this element of the reputation and aside from blowing head gaskets , they have some other issues .

I'm sure somebody will mention the starter location on the North Stars , which is not in an easily accessible location .

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It's actually in the V of the intake manifold , which by the way was where Lexus put it on their four liter V eight in the L S 400 .

But Cadillac fans tend to lampoon Cadillac for placing the starter there .

I will admit it is not a great location and certainly not readily serviceable , but I've changed a few of them and they're not horrible once you get used to it , other issues associated with the North Star that are quite prominent , I would say is its reputation as an oil leaker .

So the engine actually has two gaskets .

If you will or two ceiling areas on its lower end , there's a oil pan and then there's uh a ceiling area around the block at the uh crankshaft and both of those can have a tendency to leak .

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And I think one of the reasons why they leak a bit is that Cadillac has the exhaust crossover pipe running right next to one of those gaskets , uh drying it out and then starting the entire leak process .

So that is a well deserved reputation .

And in order to fix the upper gasket , it generally requires the engine to be removed from the car , which is obviously not a cheap procedure .

Other issues associated with the North stars include uh some typical things like coil packs tend to go bad after a certain amount of time .

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The crankshaft position sensors tend to go bad on some cars like on the Osmo Aurora , I would say it's not actually a fault of the four liter North Star engine itself , but on that car and the G bodies , the engine block ground or the primary ground for the vehicle is located in the passenger side wheelhouse , which is obviously not an optimal location to put a primary ground for the car where it can get doused with road salt and debris and corrode and exactly what you don't want for something related to electronics .

So I've owned Auroras of that era and if you drive them in the bad weather , that's often that ground can get corroded and then it creates issues with the power train control module and misfires issues with the transmission shifting and you won't know what's causing it .

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So I end up running a battery cable from the engine block stud up to one of the shock towers to give it an extra ground and that tends to cure it .

So if you have one of those cars , give that a try .

If you're having some funky issues that , uh , you can't otherwise fix another issue with the North Star is not an issue with the motor itself , but changing the alternators in particular on those cars is a pain in the butt , especially the early ones that don't have the notched Subra where you can easily remove the alternator .

And if you have one of those cars like my S T S , you have to know the correct procedure of rotating the alternator back forth , up , down , moving it back and forth side to side in order to get it out without removing the radiator and everything else , which is a pain in the butt .

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Um , and even some later North stars used , believe it or not water cooled alternators for a few years before G M discovered that water coupled with electronics was not a good idea , although this idea is in use by a number of automakers today .

However , this motor did not make it onto my worst engines of all time because as I said , when it's working , it's a wonderful , wonderful engine .

It makes great noises .

It's very quiet and idle and smooth .

Uh , it's paired with a great seamlessly shifting four A E transmission often .

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And , uh , it , the cars that they are in are very spirited driving cars , albeit often with a lot of torque steer in the front wheel drive models , but it's a very , very pleasant engine when it's working properly , but it does have its issues and I will say that the normal maintenance on the car like changing spark plugs , spark plug wires , even the water pump , the E G R valve , the air filters the serpentine belt and a number of the P CV valves coil packs .

Those are all pretty easy jobs on that engine .

They uh they're not as easy of a job on some of those other cars .

So while the motor definitely has its weak points , some of the more typical items that you have to change out are actually pretty easy .

Even the thermostat is relatively easy to change out .

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I will say a lot of them do tend to run hot and I notice that the thermostats tend to not open all the way as they age .

So I I would recommend if yours is running a little hot , it could be the head gaskets , which is a worst case scenario , but try changing the thermostat .

Also , they have a coolant bypass tube that runs along the length of the motor under the beauty cover into the coolant reservoir bottle that tends to plug .

So make sure yours is not plugged and it's flowing freely .

And lastly because you have to use the wonderful G M pellets in the cooling system .

Sometimes the radiators and heater cores tend to clog up with that sealant and then the coolant doesn't move that well .

So also make sure that you're flushing those out , which the radiator isn't a bad job to flush the heater is a bit challenging with the location of the coolant hoses .

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So nonetheless , I thought I would make that video in response .

I see a number of people are commenting why I did not include the North Star .

And those are the reasons why I did not include the North Star .

In my opinion , the other ones that I listed are far worse and highly unpleasant and mediocre at best even when in good operating condition .

Hope you enjoyed that video .

Thanks for watching that video on the Cadillac North Star Motor .

Hopefully that explains why I did not include it on my list of G MS worst tinges of all time , albeit it has lots of issues , but it is actually pleasant to drive when running and that is by far a ringing endorsement .

Thanks again and take care .


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