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Documenting a Swap: 4.6 N* / '97 STS


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So the donor car was a 95. It had had the engine replaced late '02. The car had 420,000 km's on it. Engine replaced at ~280,000. Car was purcased for $500cdn, engine pulled, lots of other spare parts pulled, and the car scrapped. There is a manufacture tag on one of the timing belt covers: " .... manufactured for Cadillac 10 2001 .. ". So we assumed this was a 2001 engine, with provisions for 2001 specs, but was designed to work in a 95 STS.

I have never replaced an engine in anything before. I have taken lots OUT. Mostly pickup trucks. But its been about 6 years since i've done any major work. I have never worked on a front drive vehicle.

It really surprised me howeasy it actualy was. People say this isa hard job. I couldnt pay anyone to do it, no one wanted the job. But they don't say why it's hard. It's not, it's just very time consuming, especialy the first time.

I lost about 200 pictures due to a corrupt SD card.... very unfortunate. But i will be starting new pics tonight. I have both cradles in the shop now sitting on skids. Car is in the air (front) on jack stands and an engine hoist.

It took me 4 days to get MY engine out, 2-4 hours a night. Big difference seeing we had the donor out in under 30 mins (we cut everything). But i am doing this job alone, except for the odd help for the heavy stuff. I had my friends dad use his tractor to lower the cradle for me and pull i out the front.

Trying to remember the order... Basicly i unplugged/unhooked everything in the top 50% of engine compartment then unbolted the cradle. Lifted the car about a foot then went at the bottom 50%. The exhaust was A LOT EASIER to get at this way. Just unhook the hangers and lift the car, and you have more than enough room to play around and get at stuff. I lifted it an inch at a time, watching to see what was still attached, going back down as needed.

I could not remove the A/C compressor. The engine is out, and i STILL can't get the compressor off. Sadly i got frustrated and cut the bottom line. But i was satisfied that was the only thing i cut. My A/C was weak anyway, and the compressor was loud. It will get replaced by spring.

The donor engine: things to note:

1 There is a rats nest under the intake. Neato....

1.5 **The coolant is green*** ???

2 There is a hole under the intake for a knock sensor. great, +1

3 The front -timing belt?- used to drive the cams... is not on straight... the top 2 pulleys the belt is shifted from the outside to the inside, it is on straight on the lower pulley. I will get a pic of this tonight. You can see that the belt is lop-sided when you look. I can't believe this engine has run 140,000 km's like that. Could it have moved or was it installed like that? I haven't touched it ye, i need to find the proper procedure to not F IT UP.

4 The starter has been changed. It could be that it was put in when the engine was put in. But there was a starter bolt laying loosley on the starter when i removed the intake.

5 There is some sort of substance in the (intake valley?) area under the intake. It reminds me of what my pickup looks like if i dont wash it.Kinda a light colored dirt/dust, but spotted, like dirty water spots from splashing hard through a big, deep puddle.

6 Clean, uniform oil line around the rim of each intake port, likewise on the gasket and the ports on the intake it self. No oil in the valley, no oil outside the gaskets. LOTS of dirt and dust around the outside of the ase of the intake. Some got into the intake ports and i can see small debree on the backs of the valves. I will find a proper cleaning procedure for that mess.

7 The intake ports are BLACK. No polish at all. A bit comes off on my finger and i get the impression a toothbrush would clean them. Is this normal?

8 Very important: i want to inspect the head bolts. Seems to me i will have to screw with the timing belt up front, so i might as well remove a valve cover. I have seen people mention before that the bolts can come loose when they pull. As in, will i be able to tell? I really do NOT want to pull the heads if i don't have to. I was thinking i would be able to tell if the donor's head bolts were bigger than what my 97 had. And if i can check them somehow without starting a tear-down....

hmmm... I'll hold here for a bit. Lots more to come but i need pics.

Edit: OH! almost forgot: MY list off tools..

~150 peice socket set with NOT enough wrenches

1 floor jack

3 jack stands (GET TALL ONES, I DIDNT)

a few bare rims (had to use to help suppor the car)

a random hammer

1 channel locks to remove hoses

an engine hoist

a medium sized flat head screwdriver for some random prying

a tractor with forks :)

a dog in a kennel in the shop that barks at me all freakin day.

a big pile of chopped firewood. I used 4 logs to support the cradle.

a pump truck

2 skids

I purchased after i started:

1 line wrench set $30

1 set of fuel line quick connect removers $12

Edited by ponyboyt
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I hate to be the bearer of bad news but a 95 engine will not work in a 97, the engine controls are different, the 95 uses OBD1 and the 97 uses OBD2, the intake/throttle body is different, NO ISC in 97....

It was NO likely rebuilt to 2001 specs, meaning the revised head bolts were not used, I am pretty sure that the 95 bolts would be used in a 95 engine. I am sure they used 95 specs

When I hear things like I couldn't get the AC compressor off, so I cut the lines, it turns my stomach, that is why we are here, ask questions BEFORE cutting lines

Green coolant in 95, Dexcool started in 96

Is that what you are doing?

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news but a 95 engine will not work in a 97, the engine controls are different, the 95 uses OBD1 and the 97 uses OBD2, the intake/throttle body is different, NO ISC in 97....

It was NO likely rebuilt to 2001 specs, meaning the revised head bolts were not used, I am pretty sure that the 95 bolts would be used in a 95 engine. I am sure they used 95 specs

Green coolant in 95, Dexcool started in 96

Is that what you are doing?

No i mean it had green coolant already.

I plan on swapping the intake. Use the intake on my 97, as thats what i was instructed, along with the knock sensor.

the AC line, i wouldn't have cut it, but i already had a new one from another car. I checked to make sure itwas the right one first. My AC pump clicks loud, likely needs replacing. So i didn't mind that one cut

I am still waiting for the previous owner to send me a copy of the bill for the engine. Suppsedly it was $12,000 at the dealer for the entire job all said and done, in 2002.

I was told there might not be a hole for the knock sensor, under the intake. But there is a hole, which wouldn't be there in 95.

It is a 2001 engine. It has a manufature tag on the toming belt cover. "Manufactured by GM for Cadillac 10 2001". A 2001 Engine with whatever modifications needed to be installed in a 1995 car. (Ths is assumed, and so far confirmed). The casting numbers on the ends of the cyleder heads are identical to the ones on my 97. 66369 or something similar.

I am wondering about the COOLANT:

Is it possible that this is in fact a 2001 engine, therefore requiring Dex-cool... BUT.. I was told the car was serviced at Penzoil (cambridge or hamilton, i forget) every 5000... Could it be they used green because the car, being a 95, calls for green. Bu maybe it should have been mentioned that the engine had been replaced, and should be using Dex-cool. If this is the case, is there anything i should be looking for?

Edited by ponyboyt
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This will be interesting to watch, good luck, I am not sure how the accessories and exhaust manifolds will set up.

Because the cooling system had green in 95 there was no advantage to using Dexcool. While the engine was new, green was in the radiator, lines, heater core etc.

You can use Dexcool but you must keep to the green change schedule of 2 years and 24K miles

Your 97 is an STS, I trust the 95 engine is an STS engine also, if its not, the CAMS are different

I do believe that the 95 had a knock sensor

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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This will be interesting to watch, good luck, I am not sure how the accessories and exhaust manifolds will set up.

Because the cooling system had green in 95 there was no advantage to using Dexcool. While the engine was new, green was in the radiator, lines, heater core etc.

You can use Dexcool but you must keep to the green change schedule of 2 years and 24K miles

Your 97 is an STS, I trust the 95 engine is an STS engine also, if its not, the CAMS are different

I do believe that the 95 had a knock sensor

So far manifolds and down pipe are identical. Same heatshielt, same size bolts and location. I am actualy talking to someone for a modded (bigger) pipe. And once i see this pipe that goes from thefront head we will look at that too.

Edit: OH my bad, there is a difference. At the bottom of the down pipe. The 95 is like an old style 2 bot flange to the cat. The 97 has a big square plate at the bottom and in front of the cat. They bolt together 4 bolts 1 in each corner to join the 2 together. I will get pics of that.

I have no quams whatsoever changing the coolant every spring. Or woud it be better in the fall say a week before it goes into storage? Lotta snow and salt up here. I ont drive in it. I have a truck.

cars are: 95 STS VIN9 (scrapped), 97 STS VIN9 (daily driver, repairing).

95 knock sensor is on the side of the block *i think*. I havent taken the entire harness off yet, im changing it piece by piece and have only done the starter so far (with the newer knock sensor).

Edited by ponyboyt
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  • 2 weeks later...

Engine is in and running. I've hada ton of problems along the way...

Lost my build sheet

Lost a vacuum lones

Broken temp sensor plug

I had no engine ground for 2 days and the car would not turn over (it would bt barely) I had forgotten i replaced most of the main power and ground wires when i did the alt months ago (I think they call that "the big 3) and i put the wrong ground back on and ended up with 2 chassis grounds :P

Exhaust manifold (front side) from 95 will not bolt to 97 exhaust Y-pipe (drivers side)

ABS pump still not working (C1217)

Car does not like to start after sitting overnight, but ill blame that on vacuum for now as i don't even have the studs for the vanity cover in.

Other than that it runs perfect and is a lot quieter (no ticking) and smoother than the old engine.

Read and cleared all DTC codes. Car running, i have TCS C1217. Also: B2119 (weird) C1738 (i have air ride pump from other car, it worked nicely and will replace this weekend), C1760, C1761 (I dont have the height sensors on.)

Bled the brakes last night and pedal is hard as a rock until you start the car... then it just goes to the floor with no resistance until its an inch from fully depressed. Ill check for booster vacuum this afternoon.

But to sum it up, you CAN put an OBDi engine in an OBDii car!

So! For a guy who's never done an engine swap, and decided to do a northstar with no FSM (i DID try to get one) i'd say im in a good spot aheadof the game right now. It took a LOT longer than i wanted it to, but i hve been doing this in 2-3 hour stints after work and a bit longer on weekends. All with a 100ish peice Mastercraft socket set! (man i wish i had air here!!!)

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The studs for the vanity cover hold the fuel rail down

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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The studs for the vanity cover hold the fuel rail down

I belive they also help hold the intake down? seems like pretty big gaps between the 6 bolts i have in there now. Its a lil bit choppy once it hits around 5300 RPM. I know i have vacuum issues (hell ther is a line missing). Also note, brand new plugs and wires. Almost... they haveabou 1500km on them from the old engine.

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Congratulations! I would concur on the cover studs being a big problem as there's little to hold the rail down without them. Make sure that you've got the steel rail from the recall. Is this one going in the hall of fame?

There's a hall of fame?

I'm not counting chickens yet. I fired my helper today. For life. He is not allowed to touch anything i own, ever again. He had hooked my steering up for me. I drove the car 18 km's to the exhaust shop, a couple 155+ km/h bursts. When i put the car in park i heard a bit of a snap. I turned the wheels each way to have a look, but was in a rush and had to go. 30 mins later the mechanic called me and said "i can't move your car, the steering linkage came off".

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Here is the Hall of Fame, for people who have done an especially hard/impossible repair. I'm not sure who controls who gets in there, but swapping a '95 engine in a '97 car was said to be impossible until you did it.

Yes this is worthy of Hall of Fame, but he was almost killed by his helper. Lets see how this turns out, and how the photos look

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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Here is the Hall of Fame, for people who have done an especially hard/impossible repair. I'm not sure who controls who gets in there, but swapping a '95 engine in a '97 car was said to be impossible until you did it.

Yes this is worthy of Hall of Fame, but he was almost killed by his helper. Lets see how this turns out, and how the photos look

Lol ok... well ya i guess you cn say i did it. I drove the car. The exhaust shop guys were nice enough to fix the stearing for me. I just called themand he told me the shaft was just resting on the end of the shaft that comes from the steering and the nut tightened. They slid it on properly and re-tightened it.

Does anyone know what size the SMALL bolts are at the top of the Y-pipe? I need to buy new ones and shop says tey are odd ball maybe metric? Its the 2 on the drivers side that attach -pipe to the flange and pipe that go to the front side exhast.

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Here is the Hall of Fame, for people who have done an especially hard/impossible repair. I'm not sure who controls who gets in there, but swapping a '95 engine in a '97 car was said to be impossible until you did it.

Yes this is worthy of Hall of Fame, but he was almost killed by his helper. Lets see how this turns out, and how the photos look

DId i mention as of yesterday im UP 100 bucks on this job? And i still have a set of chrome STS wheels for sale :):):):):)

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