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#28 of 37 Allante Northstar Motor.
Jan 09, 2002 (9:49 pm)
I work with the Northstar motor from time to time and can answer the question about why its expensive to fix. The main problem with the Northstar engine is that it is an all alloy block and head. These engines need regular maintenance and don't take kindly to missing regular service. Personally, I feel that GM recommendation of 5years or 100K coolant changes on some Northstars (up to 7/150k now?) is not doing the engine any favours. The Northstar by its nature can run up to 228 degrees before the cooling fans kick in and reduce the temp back to 192-200 degrees (depending on vehicle equipment and year). When these engines overheat, they pull the threads out of the alloy block and it becomes time to install brass inserts into the block to hold the headbolt threads. This usually requires the removal of the motor to repair it.
The other two issues are that the Northstar and to a lesser extent, the Ford OHC v-8's, use a fair amount of oil and owners don't check the oil level often enough...so they run low and guess what happens...The Northstar is a strong performing engine, but, like some imports it needs to have the right audience who can both appreciate its strengths and respect the maintenance it needs.
Jan 10, 2002 (4:02 pm)
Is the current revised Northstar for 2000/01? which runs on regular gas more reliable or can most of us can expect some trouble down the road like the older northstars that use to run on premium gas in terms of regular maintenance and arm-and-leg type expenses and labor after so many miles put on them?
#30 of 37 northstar motor 2000-
Jan 10, 2002 (9:34 pm)
The fact is that we don't know if the "re-designed" Northstar on 2000+ models will run or last any longer than the "previous generation" Northstars. Only time will tell. But, given the GM history "of design improvements," don't hold your breath.
Jan 15, 2002 (8:42 pm)
I owned one and I can say it was a very tiring car to drive. About eight hours and you were beat tired. The drive was very un sophisticated. After numerous repair trips , sold it and had to sue Cadillac, as the value had declined below the guarantee(as I remember) They would not settle as the contract stipulated, so after I got lawyer, they paid up. It seemed so stupid not to honor what was in writing, and just admit their error. Tony
May 26, 2002 (5:49 am)
I am thinking of buying a 93 Allante (Northstar obviously) Pearl White/Blk top/Tan Int.--car has 52k miles and is in just shy of exellent condition, though not concours, a (it has a ding in the chrome strip in the bumper and has been driven though very well cared for no visible chips in paint). Analog dash, no hardtop, seats covered with sheepskins since new--car but in 1994 and undert the 7/100k warranty till last year. Owner as Bentley, Cornice and New Tbird. So my guess is it was driven often enuf to avoid seals drying out. All service done by CAddy dealer.
I have two questions --what do you think would be the range of good prices for this for me as a buyer.
Secondly what tests would you have done on the car before buying--compression, radiator flow, cooling system pressure, etc etc. Do you know of anyone reputable to perform the tests and work on the car in the Southern Calif area.
Thanks for your help.
May 26, 2002 (10:38 am)
Apparently the '93 model is the one everybody wants, since it has the NOrthstar engine. Looks like the range for really nice ones is $19K-25K. I'm sure there are any number of competent shops in southern Cal. Perhaps you could use a search engine to find the Allante Club in your area (that is, members who live in your area) and aks them who they take the car to.
It's too bad there is no hardtop as this helps to stabilize the chassis and makes for a better riding car.
One thing I'd certainly to is take the car through a car wash to see if it leaks. This was apparently a big problem.
May 27, 2002 (4:39 am)
To clarify the engine issue further, there's no question that the 4.1 engines ('87 and '88) were problematic. However, it's my understanding that the 4.5 and 4.9 engines are greatly improved, in terms of reliability and durability, over the 4.1. Unfortunately, the image of the larger OHV engines was tarnished by the reputation of the 4.1.
This is supported by dennisjhs' statement in message #23 above...
"The 1993's, which are highly prized, are more powerful,
best built, but, in my thoughts, I'd pick a 1992.
The early Northstar engines are not all the reliable
compared to the 4.5/4.9 choices and the Northstar
engine tends to be expensive to repair."
Dennis, do you happen to know what specific changes in design or manufacturing accounted for the improvements in the 4.5 and 4.9 over the 4.1?
Jun 03, 2002 (3:46 pm)
Jun 03, 2002 (10:25 pm)
Also a rather flexible chassis. It doesn't have anywhere near the solid feel of a Mercedes SL, and I think this discourages buyers as well.
Still, 19K for a 12 year old Cadillac is pretty darn good considering how much the other Cads of this era depreciate to almost nothing.