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Cadillac 4.9 Engine Problems

by Will Ramsey

The Cadillac Northstar with a 4.9 Liter V8 engine was introduced in 1991. Since its introduction, the Northstar has been the top of the line GM luxury car engine. However, there have been some common problems with this engine.

Cooling System Problems

The coolant that comes standard with the Cadillac Northstar is Dex-Cool, which is red in color. This coolant is supposed to last 150,000 miles before it needs to be changed. There have been corrosion problems associated with leaving this coolant in the engine for such an extended length of time, especially when it is mixed with standard green-colored coolant.

Oil Burning Issues

Due to the 10,000-mile interval between oil changes that is recommended by the manufacturer for the Cadillac Northstar, oil burning is a commonly reported problem. When this occurs, Cadillac recommends using a GM cleaning kit to clean the valve rings. This kit has a solution that soaks the rings for two hours and is then vacuumed out through the spark plug holes.

Oil Leak Problems

Oil leakage problems have been reported with the 1996-99 model years. In response, Cadillac designed a new rear main oil seal which has solved the problem.

About the Author

Will Ramsey wrote for Hoover’s Online beginning in 1997. For the Texas Legislature, he produced a summary of the State Auditor Offices’ mandate for publication in the University of Texas' “Guide to State Agencies" and composed “Action Alerts” for distribution to State Legislators. Will received a Master of Business Administration from Rice University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Texas, Austin.

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