Northstar engines


…have a question out there to anybody who can answer; what is up with the Caddy N-star engines?? Are they just no good or just need extra attention to maintain. Seems as if head gaskets are going left and right and Im told that they are pretty much “non-repairable”. I see these pretty Caddy’s on the market all over the place…give me your opinions!!!


Actually they are a pretty good engine but complicated. We’ve got 180K on ours. The design is a little more complicated so some things are just too expensive to fix. I’ve heard that heads can be a problem. Things like the starter being under the intake manifold, water pump design, etc. are problems. Cleaning the EGR passages requires removing the trans, and it seemed to eat plug wires and coils. Replacing the alternator required pulling the radiator. If you got a low mileage one and had it checked out, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but I’d never buy one that needed work.


My father-in-law has a 2000 deville with the northstar with 70K miles. The engine burns a quart/1000 miles, which the dealer says is normal. It recently started losing a lot of coolant (probably head gasket), so he is getting rid of it.

The short answer is that they suck. If you have the ability to replace the head gaskets, a very cheap caddy might be worthwhile. I wouldn’t take the chance.


“Cleaning the EGR passages requires removing the trans”

I was not aware of that information. Despite what anyone says in defense of GM, that type of design is absolutely indefensible. And, just when I thought that they had improved their quality…


I dunno, Bing. Your list doesn’t sound like the sorts of problems I’d want to risk living with. Reading your post, I’d be inclined to avoid even a low mileage one.