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Author Topic: Thinking Northstar Conversion?  (Read 58353 times)
aaron88
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Kempvision


« on: June 25, 2003, 03:07:16 pm »

Okay!!!

Here are a few notes for anyone thinking of doing the late model Northstar conversion (using the 282 transmission of course).  Not everything is listed, but if you are seriously considering the conversion after reading this, then you can probably handle the other stuff.  Also notable is that this is an expensive conversion (budget lots of extras), the last thing you want is to start a world class conversion just to skimp later on something important because you ran out of money, so donít run out of money.

The Getrag 282 transmission does not bolt right up.  Northstar uses 4 bolts on the top and 2 bolts on the bottom.  Getrag uses 6 bolts on the top, and just for fun the top rear bolt does not line up!  However special brackets can be made for the bottom two bolts, and the miss-aligned bolt can be fixed.

A flywheel is hard to get, and I recommend making or buying a new one instead of plugging and re-drilling an old one.  My concerns here are with stress concentration.

Expect problems from the electrical system.  Donít attempt this conversion if you donít have some background in electronics.

The engine cradle will have to have itís front cross member cut out and moved forward at least 125 mm.  Then you get to figure something out for the front transmission bracket (fun).

The engine starter isnít where youíd expect it to be.  Expect instead, to have to modify your transmission casing (that means cutting it because it's much easier than moving or changing the starter).

You must (okay not must but should) cut out the bottom of your trunk (to rout the exhaust).  You will lose approximately 1/3 of your useable trunk space.

When looking for your engine, you may want to see if you can get the Cadillac gauge panel as well (if you're planning on using the Caddilac computer, unless you have some serious circuitry skills).  You donít have to use it though (Don't need this if you are using CHRFab Computer).

You will have to modify you computer code!  (unless you are using the 5 speed and you donít need all the functions to work properly, and again only if you are using tha Cadillac computer).

Once you have the car all finished and you feel like showing off for your friend, remember this.  If you rev up the engine to 4000 rpm and drop the clutch you will brake something!  You can accelerate as hard as you want as long as you donít spin the tires.

That reminds me.  You will need an after market clutch.  One that comes with itís own pressure plate for increased pressure.

So keep in mind that you will have to weld, cut, modify, innovate and re-do things.  This is one of the most involved conversions you can do.  Expect between 100 and 500 hours to get it right (depending on skill level).  Also expect no help from those that offer this kit professionally.  They want to sell you their whole kit or nothing at all (some may cooperate, like CHR-Fab, ie. get your computer there).

I should be done my kit sometime in Oct.  Iím willing to produce any info needed at that time.  Due to the lack of cooperation from the conversion industry (which has ticked me off) I may very well offer all the information for free online (posted and open to the public, including computer code and wiring diagrams) (still thinking about it though, itís a lot of work to do just because no one else offers it).



Aaron

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« Last Edit: October 18, 2003, 11:27:33 am by aaron88 » Logged

Your only limitations are set from within, by a lack of vision.  But to have vision alone leaves the process idle.  Ergo, without action your thoughts are worthless.
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2003, 07:11:33 pm »

Wow welcome to the forum/club, sounds like you've put a pile of work and planning in, nicely done.

Hmmm that'll make for

Dukes
2.8's
3.1
3.4
SC3.8('s)
and a Northstar we are a diverse bunch
« Last Edit: June 25, 2003, 07:26:45 pm by Sentinel » Logged

We drive so fast , it seems as though , we take into the sky, the Fiero Machines in Harmony , Hear the Engines Cry
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2003, 07:19:20 pm »

Hmmm that'll make for

Dukes
2.8's
3.1
3.4
SC3.8('s)
and a Northstar we are a diver bunch

Ummm what about us V8 guys  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2003, 07:26:26 pm »

Hmmm that'll make for

Dukes
2.8's
3.1
3.4
SC3.8('s)
and a Northstar we are a diverse bunch

Ummm what about us V8 guys  Grin

Sorry Nick, your always so quiet and nice I always forget your turn into the incredible bulk when you get a wrench in your hand, plus I've only seen the 1 car before so I always forget, sorry bud
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We drive so fast , it seems as though , we take into the sky, the Fiero Machines in Harmony , Hear the Engines Cry
leviathan muledy
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2003, 09:23:19 pm »

hey! this kit has me hooked
www.v8archie.com
5.7 small block
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aaron88
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Kempvision


« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2003, 12:18:44 pm »

Just thought Iíd post a quick update.

The engine is in, but lots of component transfer still to do.  Still waiting on computer, flywheel and clutch.

Aaron

.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2006, 06:28:54 pm by aaron88 » Logged

Your only limitations are set from within, by a lack of vision.  But to have vision alone leaves the process idle.  Ergo, without action your thoughts are worthless.
fiero308
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2003, 02:04:02 pm »

a clap on the back to you Aaron! You are moving ahead and that has got to be gratifying!!
I am sure everyone will be pretty interested in seeing the final result and I am personally sure that it will be immaculate.
 Grin
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aaron88
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Kempvision


« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2003, 03:47:23 pm »

If anyone is wondering about the cradle modifications this is it.  The front cross-member was in the way of the exhaust, oil filter and sensor.  I could have cut off a bit more of the old cross-member but hindsight is 20/20 isnít it.

« Last Edit: June 22, 2006, 06:30:22 pm by aaron88 » Logged

Your only limitations are set from within, by a lack of vision.  But to have vision alone leaves the process idle.  Ergo, without action your thoughts are worthless.
aaron88
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Kempvision


« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2003, 03:49:40 pm »

This is the old engine cradle (for reference), it was in bad shape so ditched it.

« Last Edit: June 22, 2006, 06:31:32 pm by aaron88 » Logged

Your only limitations are set from within, by a lack of vision.  But to have vision alone leaves the process idle.  Ergo, without action your thoughts are worthless.
A.K.A
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2003, 07:52:04 pm »

dude!!!

 Grin Grin
that knowledge is gold!

keep posting

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aaron88
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Kempvision


« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2003, 06:02:28 pm »

Simplicity is best.

Someone had suggested to me that I reuse the original tensioner.  Hereís why I donít like that idea.  The original belt had the alternator, AC compressor and a power steering pump on it.  The belt was tensioned so that it would not slip under full load of all the components at the same time.  Without this load the tension can be much less, the result is a 4 fold reduction is the wear rate on the remaining bearings.  Thus increased life.

I used a 40" belt and one of the existing bolt holes.

Aaron

.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2006, 06:32:34 pm by aaron88 » Logged

Your only limitations are set from within, by a lack of vision.  But to have vision alone leaves the process idle.  Ergo, without action your thoughts are worthless.
Slammed Fiero
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2003, 09:57:55 pm »

Okay!!!

Here are a few notes for anyone thinking of doing the late model Northstar conversion (using the 282 transmission of course).  Not everything is listed, but if you are seriously considering the conversion after reading this, then you can probably handle the other stuff.  Also notable is that this is an expensive conversion (budget lots of extras), the last thing you want is to start a world class conversion just to skimp later on something important because you ran out of money, so donít run out of money.

The Getrag 282 transmission does not bolt right up.  Northstar uses 4 bolts on the top and 2 bolts on the bottom.  Getrag uses 6 bolts on the top, and just for fun the top rear bolt does not line up!  However special brackets can be made for the bottom two bolts, and the miss-aligned bolt can be fixed.


There is a proper bracket that will soon be available. a Friend has been running it on his northstar car for 5 years and will be making copies


Quote

A flywheel is hard to get, and I recommend making or buying a new one instead of plugging and re-drilling an old one.  My concerns here are with stress concentration.


Flywheels are easy to get. KFG makes a nice aluminum one. I got mine about a week ago. Setup perfectly for the northstar, not some redrilled home brew crap

Quote
Expect problems from the electrical system.  Donít attempt this conversion if you donít have some background in electronics.

If you want a good setup , take the stock ECM  and harness and throw them as far away as you can. I bought CHRFAB's Holley commander system and their 288 cams , all pre programmed for the new 7800 rpm redline.  A little dyno time and it should be a solid 375 RWHP. I also had to swap larger injectors. I chose some nice off the shelf Z06 Vette units. Pricey...but worth it. Alan @ CHRFAB does a beautiful job with the harness , everything is labeled and easy to setup.  Worth the $2000


Quote
The engine cradle will have to have itís front cross member cut out and moved forward at least 125 mm.  Then you get to figure something out for the front transmission bracket (fun).


Again brackets are out their that work , you just have to know where to look , or the right people

Quote
The engine starter isnít where youíd expect it to be.  Expect instead, to have to modify your transmission casing (that means cutting it because there it's much easier than moving or changing the starter).


5 min with an open shoe grinder, you cut out a minimal amount. Or you can go William Capmans route and fab up an engine adaptor.. it's probalby a better way of doing it , but your looking at $1000. It takes the stress of the tranny case

Quote

Quote
You must (okay not must but should) cut out the bottom of your trunk (to rout the exhaust).  You will lose approximately 1/3 of your useable trunk space.


Chris Moore has built 6 Northstar cars using stock exhaust setups.
William Lucke used 2 Left side manifolds (like shorty headers) you get a full trunk everytime and a much better exhaust setup. William and I have a gentleman building us some nice stainless headers 4 into 2 . There designed with a  good strong streetable powerband in mind , not too peaky, shorty desing., there also designed with the 288 cams in mind. about $600US for the set of stainless units. 1 set is almost finished.

Quote

You will have to modify you computer code!  (unless you are using the 5 speed and you donít need all the functions to work properly, and again only if you are using tha Cadillac computer).

Howell will sell you the harness and modified 5spd computer for $800

Quote

Once you have the car all finished and you feel like showing off for your friend, remember this.  If you rev up the engine to 4000 rpm and drop the clutch you will brake something!  You can accelerate as hard as you want as long as you donít spin the tires.

the clutch will break before the tranny. Try and get a 9/11/16" clutch and pressure plate. I have gone with a spec stage 3 ceramic unit that has been lightened
Quote

So keep in mind that you will have to weld, cut, modify, innovate and re-do things.  This is one of the most involved conversions you can do.  Expect between 100 and 500 hours to get it right (depending on skill level).  Also expect no help from those that offer this kit professionally.  They want to sell you their whole kit or nothing at all (some may cooperate, like CHR-Fab, ie. get your computer there).

Could be me , but I have found it pretty straight forward. Little things your missing, use 4cyl fuel lines , they come out on the left side of the car , instead of the 6cyl ones which come out on the right.

swap the rear spindles , and hubs to Pontiac 6000HD units 5x115. They are a lot stronger than the weiner 5x100 units. you will only get 3000 miles out of the stock bearings with a northstar behind them. This isn't fiction..it's a proven fact from about 7 guys who have been running N* 5spd and auto's since 1995

Quote
I should be done my kit sometime in Oct.  Iím willing to produce any info needed at that time.  Due to the lack of cooperation from the conversion industry (which has ticked me off) I may very well offer all the information for free online (posted and open to the public, including computer code and wiring diagrams) (still thinking about it though, itís a lot of work to do just because no one else offers it).


I would say 90% of the info is already out there. there is a northstar mailing list, there are dozens of pics on file. it's a pretty easy swap when all things are considered. Some go with the stock type setup. Some (like myself) go a little further.

I started with a 96 N* engine VIN 9 . bought some spare heads , 5 angle (yes 5 ) valve job and a nice street port. CHR cams , springs and retainers. Had the heads magnafluxed. Stock GM gaskets (there the best) new ARP bolts. That alone with the computer should make near the 400hp mark. I will be running a 100 shot this season on the car (dry , NOS brand kit) and I have a nice little Vortec S trim tucked away for next  winter. As I mentioned before I have z06 injectors , the spec clutch and KFG aluminum flywheel. The heads are kind of gravy , but there stainless and have been meticlously designed for the northstar , were not shooting in the dark. Ed @ ""HeadersbyED"" helped with the design. Alan @ CHRfab has been great in the entire process as well. Chris moore and Will Lucke are the real gods of this conversion.  Both will and chris drive there cars everyday, Chris has had his running for 7 years without a problem.

The tranny is an issue for some. But you won't break it with clutch dumps and spinning the tires. The breakage will occur between gears  during hard shifts. The getrags gearing isn't the greatest for a v8 , but it's a manual tranny. Right now I am looking at Saab 93 vector and ARC trannies as a good alternativer. Gives you a nice spacing (close ratio) as well it is a 6spd.

for belt setup...gut the power steering pump , or relocate the one idler pulley. keep life easy..don't get into odd sized belts.

My car should be going by January.


Jonathan McCreery
86 GT , 5spd , northstar , 288 cams , nitrous , big brakes , koni's , you name it ...it's in there.
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aaron88
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2003, 10:30:16 am »

Jonathan

Thanks for the info.  Most of it can be used.

The flywheel and computer (harness included) I bought from Alan (CHRFab)!  I have actually been talking to manufacturers of northstar flywheels for four months now saying that I want one and send it to me.  But for some reason I havenít been able to get any of them to actually send it until now (CHRFab has shipped the items, but they arenít here yet).

About the aluminum flywheel: I have studied the properties of aluminum for this application and Iím not satisfied with the results from the cyclic loading on aluminum.  I donít trust that the flywheel will have the durability that I want from it.  Besides, itís really hard to beat the flexing properties of steel.  Iíll take the weight gain in turn for those properties any day over aluminum (for this application only).  Actually I prefer the properties of titanium for this application but Iím not about to pay for that.  I know that some people have been using the aluminum flywheel for some time now under adverse conditions without a problem but, I will stand by my research and say that if this in done then it should be replaced at regular interval with a fresh one.  What that interval is I honestly havenít calculated.

I like my belt set up.  Itís easy and super simple.

Iíve been considering those 288 cams now for some time, but Iím still undecided.  I figure that Iíll wait until I have the stock engine running for a while before I make that decision.  I want to have a good feel for exactly where I want to go with this conversion before I do it, I don't want to find out that it wasnít enough (or was too much).

I did go with grinder to the transmission rout.

Iíve been considering a 6 speed HD transmission (sill in the works and posted on PFF), but let me know how it goes with your Saab transmission install and use.  I may go that route if it works out well for you and since itís a transmission that has been out for a while.

Thanks again for the info.  I did find some threads on PFF about this conversion posted by Will (maybe the same one).  I didnít find it until I had most of the work already done, but found that I had almost the same solutions for most of the same problems.  Funny how that works, I guess it just makes sense.

Iíll be posting a bunch of picks when I get a little more time on my hands.

Aaron

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« Last Edit: February 26, 2004, 09:07:14 am by aaron88 » Logged

Your only limitations are set from within, by a lack of vision.  But to have vision alone leaves the process idle.  Ergo, without action your thoughts are worthless.
BootMachine
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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2003, 03:06:43 pm »

32V NorthStar Engine in a Fiero...

thats like a Solid Rocket Booster off the shuttle duct taped to the roof of my car!

You are going to rev that thing and one of two things is going to happen.

You are going to pull the fattest burn out with the engine idling....or...the fiero is going to instantly flip on its roof from engine torque twist!

Your 1/4 mile times will have nothing to do with HP....everything to do with what kind of rear tires you are running...

INSANE conversion!

do it up man!
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aaron88
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Kempvision


« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2003, 01:39:18 pm »

Time for me to post some more picís

The engine placement was a little more tricky for my car because apparently on the 88 models there is less room between the strut towers.  In my case I moved the engine and transmission to the left about 3/4 of an inch.  This left roughly 1/4 inch clearance between the engine and right strut tower, and 1/4 inch clearance between the transmission and the body (too many andís).

Iím told that for pre 88 year models the engine can be located by the original transmission mounts (manual transmission), without a problem.  However, if youíre to ask me, the suspension and brake upgrades on the 88 far outweigh any extra hassle.

Aaron

.


P.S. go to next page (bottom left)
« Last Edit: June 22, 2006, 06:33:41 pm by aaron88 » Logged

Your only limitations are set from within, by a lack of vision.  But to have vision alone leaves the process idle.  Ergo, without action your thoughts are worthless.
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