4.6L northstar engine Pontiac Bonneville Gxp - Page 2 - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


Bonneville GXP/ Northstar Powered Cars Discuss your Bonneville GXP and/or any other Northstar powered Olds or Cadillac... Including the 3.5L Twin Cam V6 (Short Star ) 4.0L and 4.6L Northstar V8's. Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 06-17-2014, 01:34 PM   #11
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the real problem is the basic lack of training, skills and attention to detail on the part of the mechanics and an over complicated engine with a major basic design flaw which the manufacturer never wanted to pay the cost to correct on their top teir car.

Hope these mechanics are not working on the airplanes I have to fly on?
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Old 06-17-2014, 02:15 PM   #12
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^ ^ ^
Gus, northstars aren't that bad. I made a deicent living working on them at the dealer I would say on average we worked on more 3.8 engines than the caddys. I do admit if you have something go wrong they aren't fun to work on but like anything if you take your time and have the proper tools it all boils down to nuts and bolts in the end.

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Old 06-17-2014, 05:12 PM   #13
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75 racer, you have to admit that the N* has had more then its share of head gasket/head bolt failure issues. The word on the street is that ALL N* will have a HG failure its just a matter of time. Some sooner at 38K, others later at 150K but sooner or later it seems they ALL fail.

Then more of the concern is finding a real true blood N* mechanic not a Gomer want-to-be, a mechanic which knows which end of the torque wrench to use and how to read and use it properly! Bottom line is that N* just aren't worth it given the real life situation, there are better more reliable choices that even the Gomer want-to-bes can repair!

Yep anyone could make a "deicent" living repairing N* the proper way as there are so many failures
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:33 PM   #14
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Tech II, I like your sense of humor but how true it is If I only had a hoist, fully equiped shop and the time to do it I would have done the head gaskets myself and been DONE with it but instead I trusted a local self proclaimed N* expert to just F*** it up two times.

I think my Stealth TT got me use to working in tight spaces so working on the GXP is really not that badbut cann't keep up with all the bulbs in the dash burning out and all the head gasket repairs. The only two major issues I've had with it in 90K miles.

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Old 06-17-2014, 05:41 PM   #15
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75 racer, you have to admit that the N* has had more then its share of head gasket/head bolt failure issues. The word on the street is that ALL N* will have a HG failure its just a matter of time. Some sooner at 38K, others later at 150K but sooner or later it seems they ALL fail.

Then more of the concern is finding a real true blood N* mechanic not a Gomer want-to-be, a mechanic which knows which end of the torque wrench to use and how to read and use it properly! Bottom line is that N* just aren't worth it given the real life situation, there are better more reliable choices that even the Gomer want-to-bes can repair!

Yep anyone could make a "deicent" living repairing N* the proper way as there are so many failures
Well you are welcome to your opinion, I just know between the upper and lower intake issues and valve cover and oil pan issues I've repaired way more 3.8 engines. And yes the northstar is totally a different beast to work on but I wouldn't condemn it to being a gm flop. Many hot rodders and sand rail guys still use them today because of the power to weight ratio. Also with the head bolt kits they are making today the head gasket problem seems to be a moot point. And yes if someone doesn't know what they are doing, they shouldn't even try to fix a lawnmower so it shouldn't matter what they have under the hood. I'm sorry your Bonnie has giving you such a bad taste in your mouth. It you want a bad *** FWD V-8 go buy a Monte Carlo SS with the 5.3LS engine.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:04 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=75 racer; Many hot rodders and sand rail guys still use them today because of the power to weight ratio. Also with the head bolt kits they are making today the head gasket problem seems to be a moot point. And yes if someone doesn't know what they are doing, they shouldn't even try to fix a lawnmower so it shouldn't matter what they have under the hood. I'm sorry your Bonnie has giving you such a bad taste in your mouth. It you want a bad *** FWD V-8 go buy a Monte Carlo SS with the 5.3LS engine.[/QUOTE]

My only point of contention is that for nearly 20 years the manufacture let a known problem (HG/bolts) exist without fixing it Then you have the sharks (unethical mechanics) who pretend to fix the problem but only to exasperate the original design problem. Sure one can remanufacture the engine on their own but does that make any sense when one already paid $40K++ to begin with? One can buy many other cars for that price that come with all the working parts by DESIGN right from the factory without re-manufacturing it so that one has a reliable car. Novel thought, hmmm
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:33 AM   #17
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Not every single northstar is going to fail, and if it did GM would of done something about it. If the problem was a simple fix you wouldn't hear such a grumble about when it does happen. Every manufacturer has their problem child engines, take your Ford 6.0 diesel, you can bet that no matter what your going to have a EGR cooler issue or oil cooler issue at some point in time because the design is flawed. But now they have since cured the problem by making tougher coolers or some guys choose to delete the EGR all together (not an option here in California) but you don't see them condemning the engine, they fix it and move forward. I've been asked many times what car to buy that isn't a lemon and from my experience there isn't a answer to that question. I've seen people buy a car and drive it 200k and have no issues and poorly maintained it, and I have seen the same model car with good maintaince be in the shop for mutable and repeat problems. Sometimes it'* the luck of the draw.
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Old 06-18-2014, 02:40 AM   #18
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your Ford 6.0 diesel, you can bet that no matter what your going to have a EGR cooler issue or oil cooler issue at some point in time because the design is flawed. .
Sometimes I forget which board I'm on GM, Ford, Mitsu

But I will add the F350 has 160K mi on the clock without any major engine problems at this point and I bought it new so I know how it was driven, what it hauled and how it was maintained. To date only routine maintenance as recommended by Ford owners manual. Change oil, trans fluid, coolant/back flush, filters, tires, batteries, couple sensors, cleaning EGR system, don't forget the fuel additive, it just keeps running and even starts at -36 F. By the way I'm the only one that touches it except for the tires, the other reason it just keeps running. So far the only questionable system has been the FICM. But all this is for another board.

Head gaskets/bolts there are NO excuses, remeber how CAD billed the Northtar! Manufacturer knew for nearly 20 years, did little or nothing substantial to fix, timeserts what a joke! Contrasting GM had the first production turbo charged all aluminum 215ci V8 in 1962 (Olds Jetfire) which all the tooling was later purchased by British Leyland. This engine whether in the US or British version had none of the NorthStar problems and I believe still produced to this day. No excuses it time the US stop taking the junk from the auto manufacturers. There was a saying.... "Quality is JOB ONE" ! I think Ford coined that phase.

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Old 06-18-2014, 04:39 PM   #19
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i dont think your 6.0 experience is typical. my 04 didnt have the egr but about everything else has been replaced, probably 10-12k worth of non warranty non-maintenance work done by the ford medium truck dealer. all payed for by my employer, i wouldnt have bought or fooled with the thing, it has averaged one to 2 break downs per year for all ten years. and about half way they flashed half my power away and keep denying it. there were a few hills on the highway i could tow my tractor up and leave the cruise on 65, now i have the throttle all the way down and i am down to 50
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Old 06-19-2014, 03:26 AM   #20
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work done by the ford medium truck dealer.
I see... looks like the problem that was the difference between my truck and yours, mine was back to the dealer only once for the first oil change and they add a few missing options. Never had any of the flashes done, did not need them! After that I did all maintenance and the few minor repairs. Still running and hauling like new at 160K miles. One only needs to follow the owners manual service intervals and use syn oil

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