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Cadillac Northstar Engine Identification

     1993-1999 Northstar engines will all have spark plug wires. 2000-2003 engines will have large coil cassettes on each valve cover that have 4 integrated coils right above each spark plug. 2004-2011 Northstar engines all have coil on plug ignition but these will have removeable coils mounted on a rail.

1993 and 1994 Northstar engines will have an aluminum intake manifold cover that is part of the intake manifold. The injectors are under this cover.

1995 Northstar engines have a thermoplastic intake manifold but have a vacuum modulated cruise control servo.

1996-1999 Northstar engines have the knock sensor mounted under the plastic intake manifold. Cruise control servos are all electronic on these.

2000 Northstar engines do not have AIR injection tubes coming off the exhaust manifolds.

2001-2003 Northstar engines have an AIR injection tube coming off both front and rear exhaust manifolds and have vacuum acutated AIR valves.

2004-2005 Front wheel drive Northstars have only 1 AIR injection valve on the rear camshaft cover and it's now electronically actuated. 2004+ engines also have two knock sensors under the intake manifold.

2006-2011 Front wheel drive Northstars have an electronic throttle body with no throttle cable. Also no crankshaft sensors on the side of the engine block.

VIN Codes

There are only 5 VIN codes for Northstar engines. These are as follows:

All Northstars that were installed into production cars had the last 8 digits of the vehicle VIN number stamped on the side of the engine block, usually along with the RPO code as well. The stamp pad on the front wheel drive engines is (if you are standing in front of the engine facing the balancer pulley) to the left of the pulley just around the corner.

Usually the RPO code is stamped in here as well. Early engines (93-94) had a metal tag riveted on with the VIN. The displacement will be stamped in the block also, "4.6, 4.0".

The cylinder heads will have the date stamp in them in a circle. For a 1998 engine, it will say "98" in a circle.

If you can't find the RPO code on a front wheel drive engine, or the VIN stamp, the only way to ID the engine if it's a Y or 9 code is by removing the camshaft cover (even just one) and finding the part number on the camshaft. I will list the camshaft numbers soon.

The only difference between the Y code and the 9 code engine is the intake camshafts (on 1993-1999 engines) and all 4 camshafts on 2000-2011 engines.

For RWD/AWD engine ID, it's pretty straightforward- if it has a supercharger on it, it's a 4.4L and if it doesn't, it's a 4.6L. AWD engines have a hole through the oil pan for the front driveshaft. All FWD/RWD engines have the radiator hose connections in the front of the engine- they don't have a coolant crossover on the rear of the engine like the front wheel drive units do.

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