How to Increase the Horsepower of a Northstar

by Luther BlissettUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Aftermarket air intake system

  • Performance exhaust system

  • Aftermarket performance chip

Northstar engines have been featured in many past and present Cadillac models including the DTS. While Cadillac owners may be less concerned with actual horsepower numbers than owners of other more performance focused and less refined vehicles, a number of performance upgrades exist for the Northstar engine. Modifying the air intake system, electronic control unit and exhaust system attached to the Northstar engine will result in a noticeable increase in not only horsepower output but also overall performance.

Modify the electronic control unit controlling the Northstar engine's functions by attaching an aftermarket performance chip. The performance chip will alter the software that controls the engine so that more horsepower is produced. Many chips will also improve overall performance by altering the fuel and ignition maps and raising the rev limit.

Replace the existing air intake filter with an aftermarket model designed to improve the flow of air into the engine. In addition to allowing for more horsepower output, the less restrictive aftermarket filter will improve the vehicles fuel economy.

Install an aftermarket exhaust system in place of the factory system. The aftermarket system will improve the flow of exhaust gases away from the engine and also reduce the overall back pressure in the exhaust system. Both changes will result in an increase in horsepower output.

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