• Jun 10, 2010
It's been a good run, Northstar, but every good thing must come to an end. Yours lasted for an impressive 17 straight years, and these days, that's something to be proud of. Rest in peace.

According to Inside Line, a spokesperson from General Motors has confirmed that it will halt production of the Northstar engine, which first appeared in the 1993 Cadillac Allante, sometime near the end of July. According to GM, there will be enough engines available for a complete 2011 model year.

Of course, that would leave the longstanding DTS without its only available powerplant and the STS without its optional V8 starting in 2012. We contacted GM to see what might be in store for these models moving past the 2011 model year, but pretty much got a predictable "No comment." We were assured, though, that the DTS would be around for 2011 in its current form. After that is anybody's guess.

As General Motors' first V8 engine with overhead camshafts, the Northstar was something of a revelation when it first hit the marketplace. But times change, and GM has a bevy of excellent cam-in-block V8s as well as direct injected V6 engines that ought to be able to fill the large hole left by the Northstar's demise. Stay tuned for more as we hear it.

[Source: Inside Line, General Motors]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      We have a technician who does nothing but Northstar re-seals. He's never without work. We've had to reseal engines as new as 2006 models, so they still have all the problems at 100K + miles. Of course the recent 3.6L V6's have timing chains that stretch sometimes after only 20 or 30K miles, so I guess you can pick your issues.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Right, because other manufacturers have eliminated maintenance or repair issues with high mileage engines.

        Give me a break. If you go behind any dealership you will find a service department. And in that service department you will find a technician who does nothing but a certain kind of repair "all day long." and "that's all he sees."
      • 4 Years Ago
      My Cadillac had the 5.7l (Chevy small-block) push-rod engine. That engine was excellent.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The V-8 isn't going away because the US truck market will always provide a significant base demand for it. To its credit, GM seems to keep finding ways to invigorate the old push-rod design. On the other had, it has never given the same love to overhead cam 8's. Now, didn't GM announce a month or so ago that they will be investing millions in an engine factory to make a new V-8? I'd not lament the end of the Northstar, but instead look forward to what's coming next. Doesn't "a new V-8 from General Motors" give anyone else a little thrill?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Umm... pretty sure the ZR-1 had the first GM OHC V8.
      • 4 Years Ago
      GOOD RIDDANCE!

      There isn't a mechanic on the planet who knows love for the Northstar.

      *Spit*
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was waiting for someone with some ACTUAL mechanical experience to chime in on this POS engine. I ran a fleet with literally hundreds of these engines in any given year, from the early days until 2000 when I got out of the business. All I can say is it was one of the worst engines we ever had in our fleet. I've spent so many years on Cadillac forums etc. listening to people with these engines asking about what to do with their overheating problems etc. I just have to laugh. After all these years, so few people seem to realize what virtually any used car lot manager has know for years. Any car with one of these engines is most likely something you want to stay away from. High probability of major engine problems, that will basically cost more to repair than the car is worth. This is why these cars are a dime a dozen in the used market.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The early versions had their issues, especially combined with the tight confines of a traverse FWD application, but the current ones (even in the current FWD DTS) do not have the head gasket or lower block seal issues like the '93-'00's did.

        Besides that, I don't really know of any luxury car multivalve engine that is "easy" to work on.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "GM has a bevy of excellent cam-in-block V8s"

      LOL! Is that what they are calling PUSHROD engines now?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Stop using the 'P' word!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hopefully to be replaced by a high tech V6.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It does seem fairly obvious that the V6 is going to be the new V8. With V6's getting the same power as previous V8's there is no need for the extra cylinders. No need for the Northstar anymore. It is a sadly outdated engine that sounded great on the commercials but was a horror to work on and anything but a luxury for the first half of it's run.

        The word Northstar for most of us reminds us of a time when driving a Cadillac was a gift that kept on giving with constant trips to the shop. I remember selling them back then. I would have the customer wait in the warmth of the dealership lounge while one of the mechanics ran outside with me to boost whatever one they wanted to see and the car had a few minutes to warm up and burn off any fluids that had leaked. 90's Caddies and Lincolns earned their reputations. GM and Ford need to leave all traces of them behind.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I just KNEW you'd have something to say!

        And look at that, GM killed its DOHC V8 and kept it's OHV (sorry, I'll try to make it easy for you, pushrod) V8s. Which perform better by every quantitative measure. (Except your tech envy, but that's not quantitative.)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh man.

        I get downrated on here for suggesting dropping an efficient motor into a Cadillac ( which General Motors will do anyways )

        And downrated on autobloggreen for suggesting that ICE cars are still good and are better than nothing since EV's won't be affordable for a long time.

        I'm changing my name to 'Middle Way'.... :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        *shrug*

        There's no denying that pushrods can be done well, but look at what Ford and all the other companies are doing. GM is also using DOHC DI motors with dual variable valve timing for every application where they're trying to be competitive on fuel economy and power with everyone else.

        They have not announced what they're going to replace it with. Coming CAFE regulations probably mean for their new 3.6 v6, or something more upgraded
      • 4 Years Ago
      The only engine listed for the 2011 STS is the LLT 3.6L DI V6. The RWD Northstar is gone.
      • 4 Years Ago
      man..... i still remember when the Northstar V8 first came out on the caddy's (I only first remember it on the STS... i think around the time they switched from Seville to STS). anyway... 17yrs is a pretty damn long run!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wasn't the LT5 technically GM's first DOHC V8?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lotus didn't do any while GM owned them?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Don't bother replacing it, GM. Keep refining and improving those pushrod V8s (maybe give us a new smaller-block V8) and keep making those awesome V6s and I4s even better. The Northstar was fine for what it was, but no one will shed a tear if it doesn't get a proper replacement.

      Long live the LSx engines.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ya, it's a peach! The steel head bolts pull out of the aluminum block, head gaskets fail, and there are severe oil consumption and leakage issues, all sky high repairs. It's why Northstar equipped used Cadillacs, Buicks and Pontiacs. are cheap.
    • Load More Comments