Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

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Thread: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

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    Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    This car is a rare one (being an Aurora), but someone is offering it to me for about $4K. They say it has the original engine/trans, but the issue is that it has 169,000 miles on it.

    Is it worth it for me to check out for that kind of money? That mileage too high? How is the lifespan of the 4T80-E? Judging from the pictures I've got so far, the car itself seems to be in pristine condition.

    Thanks for the input.
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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    Thats a lot of ca$h for a 8 yo? car with 169k miles!
    The baby northstar is a great motor but prone to leaks and possibly
    the dreaded pulled head bolt syndrome also.

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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonjaab View Post
    Thats a lot of ca for a 8 yo? car with 169k miles!
    The baby northstar is a great motor but prone to leaks and possibly
    the dreaded pulled head bolt syndrome also.
    Well that is a bit confusing. I just got from a VERY trusted source (senior level GM technician) that the Northstar in the Aurora (4.0 not the 3.5) very seldom has leaking block splits and oil consumption.

    I mean, it goes without saying that I'm going to attempt to knock down the price by 1K. So for the money being asked, what should I be looking for? Just leaks and check engine light, and if no, good to go?
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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    I think the sr. Tech just hasn't seen a lot of 4.0's. Oil leaks are a problem, and I would be really careful at that mileage.

    Did I mention the oil leaks are expensive to repair on this engine as well?

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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCritical View Post
    I think the sr. Tech just hasn't seen a lot of 4.0's. Oil leaks are a problem, and I would be really careful at that mileage.

    Did I mention the oil leaks are expensive to repair on this engine as well?
    No, he's seen his fair share of 4.0s, the difference he was saying is that cars that have the same engine (Northstars) suffer from oil leaks and the like far more than the variant in the 4.0.

    Yes, I'm aware the if it leaks, you're practically screwed. So that's why when I go to inspect the car, I'll make sure there are NO LEAKS.

    Any tips on finding this out an easy way? Since the engine bay is so crowded.
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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    Quote Originally Posted by ajm786 View Post
    No, he's seen his fair share of 4.0s, the difference he was saying is that cars that have the same engine (Northstars) suffer from oil leaks and the like far more than the variant in the 4.0.

    Yes, I'm aware the if it leaks, you're practically screwed. So that's why when I go to inspect the car, I'll make sure there are NO LEAKS.

    Any tips on finding this out an easy way? Since the engine bay is so crowded.
    He is simply wrong. GM didn't fix the NorthStar block and that goes for ALL of them (3.5,4.0,4.6) until 2004. The early NorthStars 92.5-1999 used a short fine pitched head bolt (same bolt as the Quad4) and almost all of these engine will have the headbolts pull out of the block (just like a Quad4) and will need a VERY expensive head bolt project completed... On these cars the car is removed from the engine... Failed head gasket fix at the dealer with proper replacement head bolt studs or timeserts will cost $5000 and up.

    Then in 2000 (after only 8 years ) GM realized that they had a problem and replaced the short fine pitch head bolts with longer fine pitched head bolts. These engines (3.5,4.0 and 4.6) are considerably better then the early design... but are by NO MEANS bullet proof... There are still LOTS of reported head bolt failures and half case leaks in these years too. Again... cost to fix $5000 and up.

    In 2004 (of course the Aurora was already dead at that point) GM realized that they STILL had a problem and replaced the long fine pitched bolts with long coarse pitched bolts (very much like the bolts on the LSx engines) and the problem is MUCH less now.. though there have been reports of failed head bolts on 2004-current NorthStarts too.

    Should you buy this car? You need to do some homework...
    1) Drive the car until it gets to operating temperature, preferably up and down some steep hills... with the A/C on... Watch the temp gauge... if the needle moves off of straight up RUN from the car
    2) Buy a exhaust/coolant test kit from Pepboys (or where have you) and test the antifreeze for exhaust gases.. (any quality mechanic can do this for you) If there is any evidence of blow by in the coolant RUN from the car
    3) Ask to see all of the service records for the car... look specifically for coolant servicing. You want to see the coolant being serviced every other year.. at a minimum... If the car has gone 5 years between coolant changes...or if the first and only one was just done.. RUN from the car.
    4) Have a mechanic run a compression check and leak-down check on the motor (they should do that for you for less then $200). If any cylinder is widely different from the others... Well you know the drill
    5) Lastly the Transmission on these cars has its quirks too. Look for a tranny leak out of the driver's side output shaft... any leak here means that the support bearing for the output shaft has shattered (a very common problem) and the transmission is on its last legs. ... you know Run.

    Oh one last thing... if the car has an intermittent stall on warm up. That is also very common on 2000-2003 cars. That is the Crank Sensors... Those are easy and cheap to replace.

    Good Luck... Post some pics if you buy it.
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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2002 Caddy View Post
    He is simply wrong. GM didn't fix the NorthStar block and that goes for ALL of them (3.5,4.0,4.6) until 2004. The early NorthStars 92.5-1999 used a short fine pitched head bolt (same bolt as the Quad4) and almost all of these engine will have the headbolts pull out of the block (just like a Quad4) and will need a VERY expensive head bolt project completed... On these cars the car is removed from the engine... Failed head gasket fix at the dealer with proper replacement head bolt studs or timeserts will cost $5000 and up.
    Point taken.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2002 Caddy View Post
    Should you buy this car? You need to do some homework...
    1) Drive the car until it gets to operating temperature, preferably up and down some steep hills... with the A/C on... Watch the temp gauge... if the needle moves off of straight up RUN from the car
    YES. This I know for a 100% fact. The way I figured this out? My current car, which seems to run too hot all the time. I'm ABSOLUTELY looking out for this, no question.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2002 Caddy View Post
    2) Buy a exhaust/coolant test kit from Pepboys (or where have you) and test the antifreeze for exhaust gases.. (any quality mechanic can do this for you) If there is any evidence of blow by in the coolant RUN from the car
    3) Ask to see all of the service records for the car... look specifically for coolant servicing. You want to see the coolant being serviced every other year.. at a minimum... If the car has gone 5 years between coolant changes...or if the first and only one was just done.. RUN from the car.
    4) Have a mechanic run a compression check and leak-down check on the motor (they should do that for you for less then $200). If any cylinder is widely different from the others... Well you know the drill
    5) Lastly the Transmission on these cars has its quirks too. Look for a tranny leak out of the driver's side output shaft... any leak here means that the support bearing for the output shaft has shattered (a very common problem) and the transmission is on its last legs. ... you know Run.
    Yes, I'm looking for any leaks. I can't do a compression test (for the price the car's being sold at), so I'll have to go by the general feeling I get with the car.


    Quote Originally Posted by 2002 Caddy View Post
    Oh one last thing... if the car has an intermittent stall on warm up. That is also very common on 2000-2003 cars. That is the Crank Sensors... Those are easy and cheap to replace.

    Good Luck... Post some pics if you buy it.
    Yeah, I read up on that. Also, I read that if the car runs rough on startup, RUN (means head gasket is about to go or is already gone).
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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    $4,000 seems a bit steep for that car with 169k miles. In New York state, you can find these on craigslist for same price with ~100,000 miles (advertised good condition, single owner, maintenence records, etc). Of course, if you live in a less wintery (salty) state, that can make a big difference.

    But check craiglist in your area for a feel on this car, also look at Park Ave's in the same for comparison, they should be roughly the same value.

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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
    $4,000 seems a bit steep for that car with 169k miles. In New York state, you can find these on craigslist for same price with ~100,000 miles (advertised good condition, single owner, maintenence records, etc). Of course, if you live in a less wintery (salty) state, that can make a big difference.

    But check craiglist in your area for a feel on this car, also look at Park Ave's in the same for comparison, they should be roughly the same value.
    Yeah, I agree, that's why I'm knocking down to $3K or tell them to forget it. Blue Book value is at $3200 anyway, so I might get away with going even lower.
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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    Forgot to post...................

    EXACTLY what YEAR and ENGINE is in this car?

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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonjaab View Post
    Forgot to post...................

    EXACTLY what YEAR and ENGINE is in this car?
    2002 Oldsmobile Aurora 4.0. Not the 3.5 (which is actually a decent engine) with the shi**y 4T65-E transmission.
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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    I'm looking at a 2002 Aurora. Anyone with one of these still in operation and can tell me the good bad and ugly. It has the 3.5L. I know this thread is old, but hopefully someone will take a look.
    6 speed transmissions are the future

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    Re: Worth it for Aurora 4.0 Northstar / 4T80E?

    i have a 3.5 in my 02 intrigue i've had it for about 100 000 miles i've put that on it in 3 years and as a 22 y o i'm not the kindest to it. i can tell you its governed to 175 km/h. valve cover gaskets like to go but they're fairly cheap and easy to do yourself and you can get at the plugs while your at it. people have had plenty of head gasket issue's with these engines tho. i'm guessing i just got a good one.

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