untchabl
untchabl Reader
7/12/21 11:07 a.m.

I bought a pretty nice 2005 Cadillac STS with only 91k miles a few months ago that didn't run. I was fairly certain that the cam chain tensioners failed but just recently got a chance to investigate. 

Both cam chains are broken, all intake valves on driver side are bent, intake rocker arms on driver side all fell off and a few got caught under the cam and ruined the cam and broke a cam tower cap. Passenger side head isn't quite as bad but still has some damage. Also broke the cam gear phasers on both heads. 

So, I at minimum need to replace both heads but I think I'm just going to replace the entire engine since it will only cost a couple hundred dollars more. The current engine has to come out regardless since there isn't enough room to pull the heads in the car. 

Everything I've seen/read online says that the engine has to come out the bottom of the engine bay. I'm curious if anyone has ever removed one from the top. I was thinking about making a lift plate like they have for LS, SBC and SBF engines that bolts on where the intake manifold goes.

Anybody have any experience working on rwd Northstar engines?

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/12/21 11:33 a.m.

Even if it is possible to remove out the top, it's generally much easier out the bottom.  Assuming you have a lift, of course.

It astounds me that people pull 4th gen F body engines out the top!  I've done about a half dozen of them and it is sooooo simple to drop them out the bottom.

 

If you forge ahead, you don't need to go crazy over making a lift plate.  A chain, two long bolts with fat washers threaded into the intake manifold bolts on the heads, is all I ever used for doing engines in Ford pickups/vans.

Dead_Sled
Dead_Sled HalfDork
7/12/21 12:44 p.m.

I've pulled a few FWD northstars and I can't imagine pulling one out the top.  No lift either, just an engine hoist to lift the nose and a few trolly jacks to roll the subframe out on.  Guys have pulled them out the top but it's alot more work, if it's made to come out the bottom they tend to make it pretty easy to get to the fasteners you need to remove in order to drop the whole subframe out.  They then assume everything is sitting on the floor as you remove other fasteners and components.  Trying to remove those fasteners and components while it's in the car is generally more work than it's worth as they didn't design it for serviceability while it's in the car.

Do you have a factory service manual? They tend to spell out the procedure pretty well.

Turns out I'm gearing up to pull an lt1 out of a 4th gen camaro, I can't imagine trying to pull it from the top, even without a lift it'll be coming out the bottom.

untchabl
untchabl Reader
7/12/21 1:46 p.m.

I do not have a 2-post lift, otherwise I wouldn't have asked about coming out the top. I've got an engine hoist and a mid-rise scissor lift. 

I don't have the factory service manual, there is one set on eBay but they are over $400. Been thinking about buying the alldatadiy for the car to get the engine removal procedure.

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UltraDork
7/12/21 7:59 p.m.

Use the engine hoist to lift the nose of the car and drop it out the bottom. Slightly more awkward than a two post lift to raise the car, but it is doable much easier than lifting the engine out the top.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/12/21 8:06 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

Heck, I R&Red an RX-7 engine in a friend's driveway that way, by jacking the front as high as I could, then removing the subframe and dropping the engine and trans out with a ratchet strap across the strut towers and dragging it out through one of the wheelwells.  Did an engine R&R and rebuild in one weekend, drove to his place on Friday after work and drove in to work on Monday.  Rebuilt the engine Saturday evening and started reassembly on Sunday.

Of course, there was no shade, no cloud cover, the concrete was not conducive to pushing a drivetrain under a car, and it was about 95 degrees, in the morning.

mjrj (Forum Supporter)
mjrj (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/13/21 4:32 p.m.

It comes out the bottom.  This is one I did back in another life, lower crankcase reseal on a STS-V.  I unbolted the master cylinder off the booster and removed the fasteners holding the brake and fuel lines to the body, after fully removing the exhaust.  This way the brake system didn't have to be opened up.  If you do this on the ground I'd remove the front strut assemblies to make it easier to get the cradle out.  I don't remember much else about the job I think I did this about 10 years ago.

untchabl
untchabl Reader
7/13/21 8:47 p.m.

In reply to mjrj (Forum Supporter) :

That's what I was thinking was involved. I had found a couple pictures online and they looked similar with the master cylinder still attached to the engine assembly.

Do you disconnect the rear brake system from the master cylinder? 

Does the engine wiring harness stay attached to the engine and unplug somewhere on the firewall?

mjrj (Forum Supporter)
mjrj (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/15/21 12:08 a.m.
untchabl said:

In reply to mjrj (Forum Supporter) :

That's what I was thinking was involved. I had found a couple pictures online and they looked similar with the master cylinder still attached to the engine assembly.

Do you disconnect the rear brake system from the master cylinder? 

Does the engine wiring harness stay attached to the engine and unplug somewhere on the firewall?

I didn't disconnect the brake lines, there was enough slack in the lines at the rear that I didn't have to open the system.  YMMV due to rust, etc.  I think I unplugged the engine harness from the ECU and the harness itself stayed with the engine.

untchabl
untchabl Reader
7/17/21 8:32 p.m.

Looks like I'm going forward with this project however it will be a few months before I get started. Put my name on the list for a 12,000lb 2-post lift however it won't arrive until sometime in October. Been wanting/needing a 2-post lift for a long time and need one that can lift the 1-ton diesel trucks that we have. Going to sell my mid-rise scissor lift to cover some of the cost.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/17/21 9:04 p.m.

In reply to untchabl :

I am personally shocked that you didn't sell the mid rise scissor lift after the first time you used it.

 

I've worked with one of those for about a decade and a half in a "flat bay".  It was moderately useful.  Mostly we stored dead project cars over it.

untchabl
untchabl Reader
7/17/21 10:04 p.m.

My shop doesn't have the ceiling height for a 2-post lift. But I'm putting a concrete pad and the 2-post lift in another building next to my shop. Plan to run air and power over to it from the shop. 

The mid-rise scissor lift definitely has it's limitations and aggravations. I think I would have been happier with the Max Jax lift instead. I think that is the best option for someone with a low ceiling height shop.

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