Author Topic: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?  (Read 13100 times)

Offline Eric Falk

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Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« on: September 22, 2008, 09:31:27 PM »
I've heard the Northstar is the best engine but I've also been told there are better.  I'm curious what the Cadillac community has to say.  Of course, I want to compare apples to apples so let's hear what ya'll have to say.

Offline Guidematic

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008, 09:45:56 PM »
 In the last 20years? That would leave only the N* and the 4.X engines. Not a lot to choose from.

 But for my money I would go with a 4.9 powered Cadillac any day. Now, if you open it up, you also have the Olds 307 and the Chevrolet based engines such as the LT1 and the LS series engines found in the Escalades and the CTS-v.

 Mike
1970 Fleetwood Brougham 68169
1985 Eldorado Coupe 6EL57
1988 Eldorado Biarritz 6EL57
1990 Brougham d'Elegance 6DW69
1994 Fleetwood Brougham 6DW69

Offline Joe Manna

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2008, 03:53:45 AM »
IMO,The 5.7 is one of the best,if not the best.I know it's a Chevy motor.My '91 Brougham has that motor,It also has 155,000 on it.Runs like a champ.
1951 Chevrolet Bel-Air-50's Style Custom
1963 Cadillac 4 Window Sedan deVille
1991 Cadillac DW69 Brougham,All original and used daily
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Offline Guidematic

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2008, 07:16:54 AM »

 The LO5 Used in your Brougham is a very good engine. Plenty of power, and bullet proof reliability.

 Mike
1970 Fleetwood Brougham 68169
1985 Eldorado Coupe 6EL57
1988 Eldorado Biarritz 6EL57
1990 Brougham d'Elegance 6DW69
1994 Fleetwood Brougham 6DW69

Ohio57-62Sedan

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2008, 07:44:46 AM »
Mike, you know what I'm going to say about this topic.......LOL  I really have to say Northstar is the fastest mill Cadillac has given us. But I would take any 4. series anytime. They are smooth running enough power for the car's the were in, and hey there cheep to pick one up. I just picked up a 96 deville for 250.00 It's worth more than that in scrap.. I just cant pass up a good deal on a Cadillac

Offline Guidematic

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2008, 08:11:50 AM »

 Yes, the N* is a great engine. Sophisticated, smooth and powerful. In that context alone, they are one of the greats. But I have to look at them from a mechanic's point of view, and quite frankly, they scare the heck out of me. But getting a good serviceable N* powered car on the cheap like that is a good deal in any event. Even if it packs in, then you can still get your money out of it.

 The 4.5/4.9 have a proven track record, particularly the 4.9. They are very reliable and trouble free engines, perform very well and are very good on fuel. Of course the HT4100 is out of this discussion because the newest one was made in 1987.

 But if we went back farther, I would have to give my vote to the 472/500 engines.

 Mike
1970 Fleetwood Brougham 68169
1985 Eldorado Coupe 6EL57
1988 Eldorado Biarritz 6EL57
1990 Brougham d'Elegance 6DW69
1994 Fleetwood Brougham 6DW69

Offline TJ Hopland

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2008, 08:12:47 AM »
Yes if you are going with 1988-2008 your only true Cadillac options would be the 4.5, 4.9, and Northstar. Like others said since the Broughams were the 'classic' cadillac you would have to include their Olds 307's. Luckily you never had to choose between the 4.9/ 4.5 and the 307 since the cars they were in were quite different.  The 307 was an old school all cast iron motor so it could take more abuse than the aluminum ones but was pretty out of date and not much power for the also very heavy and outdated car it was installed in.   Their common problems are not too bad to deal with.   The basic 307 design goes back to the original 50's olds V8. The 4.5 / 4.9 are based on the 1982 4100.  They built a lot of motors 1982-1995 and had got all the bugs worked out. They were a more modern efficient design and also were put in the more modern car designs so they actually performed very well.  The Northstars are yet another step up in high tech and efficiency.  I believe they are among the most complex engines built today (seems like there is an AUDI with more parts). They do perform very well for their weight and have been in production since 92? so they like usual they have got a lot of the issues of the earlier units worked out.

In 90-93 the a Throttle Body Injection Chev V8 came in the broughams (I think it was an option for 90 and standard 91-93).   Like the olds the basic engine design came from the 50's.  The advantage it had was the EFI system it used.  While it was not the most efficient it was the simplest and least complicated system GM ever built.  It performed much better than the carb on the 307.  The EFI system was the same basic system that came out as the optional DEFI system on some Cads in 1980.   It was also the standard system for the 8-6-4 in 81.  I believe in 81/82 the system was standard on several GM cars.  The engine & EFI system became the standard V8 in the trucks and suv's in 87.   The truck V6 was essentially the same with 2 cylinders missing.  So by 90 when this combo ended up in the Cadillacs the for sure had all the bug worked out.   IMHO opinion this would be the overall best engine that came in a cadillac in the last 20 years.   

The 94-96 Chev Lt1 was also a good motor but I think added too much expense and complication for only a minor performance gain.  You then have to include the Escalade which also used the Chev truck motors.  THe 5.7 vortecs were pretty solid as are the more current 5.3 and 6.0's..  I think we also have to include the Catara V6 and the real recent xtr (corvette?) motor.

If you are going to go back 40 years that gets you into the 472/500/425/368  1968-1981 (optional in the CC till 85?).  I think those were among the overall most reliable and best performing engines cadillac built.   Im sure some of the early ones were also very good compared to others that were out there but I dont have much experience with pre 68 stuff.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/aftermarket EFI
75 Eldo rusty but trusty
80 Eldo Diesel
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline caddykid60

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2008, 09:08:33 AM »
Hi.

In 2009 it will be 25 years of consistantly Driving the 1977-92 Brougham, since age 17.  I've had six.  Four had the 307 Olds Engine and all went over 200,000 miles before I sold them with out any repairs except waterpumps (around 110,000 - all costing less than $100 with labor) and the trannies never failed.  Although high end passing power wasn't adequate, low end was good.  My first was a 1980 with the 6.0 Engine, again, very reliable, though the gas mileage wasn't nearly as good as the 307.  I haven't driven a Brougham with the Chevy 305 TBI, but I've heard good things about it.  My current 1992 Brougham has the 350 TBI which again is a solid, reliable engine.  One area the 305 and 350 had over the 307 was far fewer vacuum hoses which makes getting at the valve covers much easier.  So, the 307 Olds and 305 and 350 Chevy Engines get my votes. 
Mike Kelley
1960 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
1990 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham D'Elegance
1991 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park Wagon

Offline Guidematic

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2008, 10:10:42 AM »

 The Olds 307 was and is a very good engine. Actually it is derived from the low deck 330 that first appeared in 1964. This was an all new design and very up to date for the time. The high deck 425 followed for 1965 in which the 455 was derived.

 The 307 was the only long stroke engine of this family, thus it had good low end torque, fuel economy and emissions qualities. That is perhaps the reason it was used over the Chevrolet 305 during the '80's. This generation of Olds engine was known for it's durability, good performance and relatively good fuel economy. It is a much better quality engine than the Chevrolet engines, actually as close to or the equal to the famed 472.

 However, the 307 is a bit tricky to keep properly in tune, and the 3C system is somewhat complicated using an electronic feedback carb and miles of vacuum hoses and multiple sensors. After much work, I have finally got the 307 in my '89 Brougham from a gas sucking powerless pig to one that runs nice and responsive, decent power and excellent fuel economy. But, it is still no powerhouse. Around town power is excellent, but highway power is a bit off. But still it is the best running 307 I have yet driven. It will cruise easily at 70 MPH loaded with the AC on.

 The 4.5 in my '88 Eldorado is also a sweetheart. It just runs very good. I have not had to really do anything to it. It goes like stink, is very responsive and delivers phenomenal fuel economy.

 The Chevrolet engines are also very good. The L03 and L05's are incredibly durable and simple engines. The TBI is a very simple and durable design. Of coarse we all know that these engines go back the the original SBC of 1955.

 The LT1 is also a very excellent engine. Power is 260 HP compared to the 170 of the L05, which is a huge leap. The engines will also rev quite freely. But torque output at lower RPM's is not a lot greater. They are of the highest development of the SBC utilising reverse flow cooling to support a lofty 10.3:1 compression ratio. But the achilles heel of this engine is the Opti-Spark. It can be problematic and expensive to repair. Again, many give little difficulty over their life, particularly the 1996-95 units that were vented.

 Mike
1970 Fleetwood Brougham 68169
1985 Eldorado Coupe 6EL57
1988 Eldorado Biarritz 6EL57
1990 Brougham d'Elegance 6DW69
1994 Fleetwood Brougham 6DW69

Offline TJ Hopland

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2008, 06:20:26 PM »
Looks like what we are all saying is Cadillac did not make a 'good' engine in the last 20 years but did use some other 'good' GM engines in select cars.

The most common issue I see in the olds is the air heated choke no longer working properly causing the thing to run real rich and plug up the cat converter.   Likely a problem that would have easily been caught back when all chokes were air heated and commonly did not work properly but with electric chokes and EFI being the norm since the mid 70's people seem to forget to look for the basics. Over the years I have bought several 307 cars that 'had bad motor',  jammed something in to hold the choke open and drove them home.  Get the converter flowing again and a standard tune up and they were good cars.

Other issue I see a lot is on cars/ motors that still look 'old school' but are computer controlled is people will mess with idle stops and base timing without understanding the computer part.  If you mess with the base timing on a computer controlled car it does not just advance the whole curve like it did in the old days it makes the computer hunt for the proper responses its expecting.  Same thing with the idle.   


When I was driving Roadmasters I had 91,92,93 then decided I needed a LT1.  Got one and was not that impressed with the extra power.  It was there on paper but in my world it did not make much difference.  Then it came time to do the 100K tune up.... $$$$$.  Ended up selling the car and going back to a 93.   I was driving wagons and you used to see a ton of them for sale with just over 100K on them.  I guess what happened is people were keeping them around for towing the boat to the lake or whatever but when it came time for the 100K tune up and they found out what that was going to cost they traded them in on a nice SUV.   Not may people wanted to spend over $1000 on a 'tune up' for a 10+ year old car they had long since paid for. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/aftermarket EFI
75 Eldo rusty but trusty
80 Eldo Diesel
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline JerRita

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2008, 07:03:14 PM »
I agree with the 5.7 in the brougham I've had 3 and love them all 1 rusted away 1 got wrecked and I'm still driving the 3rd with 265 K I'm looking for a lower milage one around 100K would be good I bought the last one for $850 on ebay wiyh 184K and never looked back I wish we had that engine in our 87 station wagon That has the carbed 5.0 and can't climb a hill on Long Island HA  JerRita
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Offline Stampie

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2008, 07:06:13 PM »
I have to agree.  The only good engine used in a Cadillac for the last 20 years is the small block Chevy.  Shame we went from the 70 500 to the 81 8/6/4 in such a short time.  IMHO nothing after that counts as a standard of the world engine.

Stampie
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Offline Otto Skorzeny

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2008, 07:28:59 PM »
I agree Stampie.

When the same question is asked about Ford or Chevrolet without limiting it to the last 20 years, you will get an almost universal response on both; The small block Chevy and the small block Ford.

The Ford 280,289, 302 was used for nearly 40 years. It's reliable dependable, bullet proof. The same is true of the Chevrolet 265, 283, 327, etc. etc. etc, 350 produced for 41 years (GI)

Those two engines epitomize what a good engine design should be.

Having said all that, I honestly think Cadillac's best engine was it's first new post war design; the 331, 365, 390. It stands up well when compared with the Ford and Chevy.

I imagine Cadillac's reputation as an innovator has led it to keep designing new and different engines over the years rather than sticking with and perfecting a single design. Imagine if Cadillac had used the same engine for 40 years. Buyers might feel they weren't getting their money's worth.
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Offline Otto Skorzeny

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2008, 08:06:35 PM »
Sorry, typo. The Ford engine should be 260 not 280.
fward

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Offline Mike Josephic CLC #3877

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2008, 09:16:41 PM »
Forgetting about the 20 year rule -- I agree and my vote is for the 331 Cadillac V-8 first
out in 1949.  It was a milestone design in it's day and it's usage continued for years
(bored out as noted).  One of Cadillac's best efforts ever and light-years ahead of
everything else back then.

Mike
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Offline Guidematic

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2008, 09:59:26 PM »
 Yes, the 331 was one of the most important engines to ever come along. It was designed by Ed Cole and Harry Barr, and Ed Cole went on to design the equally revolutionary Chevrolet V-8 for 1955. The 331 was a landmark design, and one that influenced every automotive engine since in one way or another.

 But back to the 20 years bit. The 4.9 was and is a very good engine. They really have no issues, the design being perfected. They have an enviously flat and fat torque curve and get very good fuel economy. Does anyone here have any experience with this engine? I'm sure there are folks here that will vouch for it.

 I wanted to add that the N* is actually a very simple design for what it is. I had the privilege of taking a 2-day GM coarse on these engines. We tore one down and reassembled it. The problem is the way it is packaged in the car. You have to remove the engine for just about any repair, save for a very few minor repairs. Removal is an 8-hour job. I'm sure working on these engines has taken some time off my life!

 Mike
1970 Fleetwood Brougham 68169
1985 Eldorado Coupe 6EL57
1988 Eldorado Biarritz 6EL57
1990 Brougham d'Elegance 6DW69
1994 Fleetwood Brougham 6DW69

Ohio57-62Sedan

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2008, 08:01:15 AM »
Yes mike i have to agree with you on the 4.9 great engine. but i do find that i would prefer to work on the Northstar. but I get payed 40% labor as well. So I don't mind working on them.  :)  i wanted to go back to the 307 old's I personally have blown up seven of them in my 84 Hurst Olds don't get me wrong at the time I was 16 and beating the crap out of every one of them. What i found out about them the webbing where the crank sit's is not heavy enough and, let's the motor flex I was always spinning the rod bearings on #1 and #2. I had a great fix for this my last block I used was a 350 diesel Block A 10/10 crank from mondello performance And the 307 Y or 9  heads, Headers, edelbrock Rpm performer intake, and a rottenchester carb. I had the car running high 14's low 15's. That was good enough to smoke a stock mustang at the time. That made me happy at the time. I still love my Oldsmobile's  GM could have gotten rid of Pontiac or Buick as far as I'm concerned...but i don't want to star a fight or anything...lol
I wrecked My Hurst Olds when i was 20 , but I did keep the frame & drive line I'm planning on using all the suspension on my 79' Monte Carlo with a 454 EFI and a 4L80E transmission Lexus LS400 interior and the all important Lighting Rods!!! But then I went out and bought My 57 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. So now once again the M.C. is on the back burner. I'm just your typical mechanic stoping one project to start another...

Offline Guidematic

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2008, 08:52:12 AM »
 I still have nightmares from working on Northstars. When I was working at the dealer, we were flat rate. The times that GM gave for working on these things were robbery. For example, they gave us 12 hours to do a crank case reseal. That was a 20+hour job, often 25 hours if you were doing it for the first time. We simply could not afford to work on them at all.

 The 4.9's were much simpler to work on. When they first came out, they had issues with cold piston slap. It was never a durability issue, but it was annoying to the owner, and rightfully so. We got paid 10.3 hours to replace a piston/liner assembly, plus I think 1.3 hours for each additional piston/liner. That you could do and not lose anything.

 I never really did anything to a Northstar that I came good on. They were always a charitable cause for me. But, I think that if we got paid for the time we had in them, I may feel differantly about them.

 The 307, in my opinion, was never designed to be a performance engine, but they were used in the Hurst Olds and 442's. Which were marketed as performance cars. They seemed to work best at low to mid range RPM's, never much for the high end. I don't think I would ever modify one, I would start with the "R" code 350 first. Or even a 403.

 Mike
1970 Fleetwood Brougham 68169
1985 Eldorado Coupe 6EL57
1988 Eldorado Biarritz 6EL57
1990 Brougham d'Elegance 6DW69
1994 Fleetwood Brougham 6DW69

Ohio57-62Sedan

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2008, 09:37:26 AM »
Mike, I wish you would have talked to my Dad and Uncle years ago.... ;D ;D ;D ;D We were doing alot of Diesel change overs then.
I just can't seem to throw the damn old's away and i will never never do something like that again...
We all learn from our Mistake's....

Offline Guidematic

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Re: Whats the best Cadillac V8 engine in the past 20 yesrs?
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2008, 10:36:01 AM »

 So it was your dad and uncle that got you into it?

 Mike
1970 Fleetwood Brougham 68169
1985 Eldorado Coupe 6EL57
1988 Eldorado Biarritz 6EL57
1990 Brougham d'Elegance 6DW69
1994 Fleetwood Brougham 6DW69

 



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