Cadillac Northstar Engines

I have a 1996 Cadillac and have had problems with the motor and was wondering if anyone could tell me if they have made improvements to the Northstar motor on the newer Cadillac models, as I am thinking of getting a newer car and would like to stay with Cadillac but if the Northstar motor has not been improved I will have to look at something else. Thanks for any input

What kind of problems, and when did they start? Your car is 15 years old. Problems are to be expected in a car that’s old enough to be in high school.

MSN Autos reports that the DTS has few problems of any sort. The main engine problem reported for your mid-1990s Deville’s was a crankshaft position sensor. Of course, you can also get powerful 6-cylinder engines in a Cadillac these days.

The “northstar” like “hemi” and the like are advertisement gimmicks that may refer to particular characteristics of a motor but may not be relevant to it’s longevity or performance. I wouldn’t hesitate buying a new Cadillac if the motor was your only concern. Not only has the motor been improved in many ways, but like most, is more reliable, economical and better performing. They couldn’t keep up if it wasn’t. Caddys are good solid cars and have always been a good buy IMO.

Google “Northstar piston slap” first…

I noticed an extreme oil leakage problem with Northstar engines of the year you mention. Sealing them up was in the 12hr range.

The NorthStar was originally designed by Lotus as a racing engine. It’s all aluminum split crankcase 32 valve design makes it somewhat unreliable as a passenger car engine…But they sure are fun when they are running right! They are not “field repairable” and rebuilding them always costs more than the car they were in is worth…

The Cadillac Division stopped using them several years ago and todays Cadillacs are powered by Chevy engines as are all the remaining GM cars…The 2 valve per cylinder, pushrod, CTS can hold it’s own with any car on the road with rock-solid reliability and minimal maintenance…

The DTS, STS, and up until this year the SRX all still use the 4.6L Northstar. The XLR used it as well. The only Cadillacs that use the the GM pushrod engiens are the CTS-V and Escalade

My Bad…I thought they retired that engine several years ago…I know they made a “ShortStar”, V6 NorthStar with 2 cylinders chopped off…Lets see, the Northstar came out in 1992, in the Allante only that year. 18 years of NorthStars…Dealership mechanics must be getting very familiar with them by now…But the SBC has been pushing GM vehicles around for 55 years…That’s pretty impressive…

At one Cadillac Dealer I was at in 1999 we had two heavy line mechanics that pretty much just did Northstar reseals. The performance was extremely impressive for such a big car and in those years.

After the car had so many miles on it the bolts backed out of the head gaskets and it of course was leaking water and was repaired (that was my main concern with the newer models, if they too also had the same problem after accumulating a specific amount of miles). I realize the car is old and that was why I was trying to do some research into the new models.

Ever try replacing the starter in one of those engines? Pack a lunch.

Caddyman, the LS 1 and it’s derivative, the LS 6 that was used in the C5 Corvettes and the 1st gen. CTS-V shares little, if anything other than pushrods, with the old Chevy smallblock. It is a clean-sheet, aluminum block engine that was introduced in the '97 Corvette. It is cast in iron only for trucks. The current CTS-V has a supercharged 6.2 liter version (LS 9?) with 550+ HP.

I can’t vouch either way for the Northstar’s reliability, as I’ve never discussed it with anyone who has owned one, but those bad boys sure run when they are working! I think the Northstar was derived from the Lotus-designed LT-5 that was in the ZR 1 Corvette from the late’80s/early '90s.

Yes I have,it is in the “V” if memory servers me well.

Exactly what does sealing them up in the 12hr range mean?

The number of hours the mechanic took to complete the job, I don’t know how much the customer got charged,it could be double that. I have seen mechanice take 4 full 10 hr days to do this job when it was their first time and they were a bit hesitant about just what to do.