Northstar coolant loss

Lawrence E. Piekarski c1ilep at
Wed May 17 12:31:04 GMT 1995

>A fairly remarkable comment was made that the Northstar V8 (and I assume
>the derivative Oldsmobile Aurora V8) could run in a mode without coolant,
>pumping air and normally combusting alternately on two cylinder banks.  I
>assume that this is some sort of failure mode that allows the owner to
>make his way to a service station.  Is this correct?  Could anyone from GM
>(Ed or Andrew) elaborate? 

That is correct. When a loss of coolant is detected (as opposed to high
coolant temperature/overheating) fuel is disabled in 1/2 of the cylinders
at a time. This allows 1/2 of the cylinders to cool while the engine
essentially runs as a V-4.

According to a press release I read, a team of engineers (in Detroit) 
drained the coolant from either an Allante (team of 2?) or a Seville
and drove to Toledo for lunch and returned. They drove expressway and 
maintained 55 mph.

I wrote test software for PCM's, and of all of the different types I worked
on, I was most impressed with the N*. There seems to have been a lot of
up-front planning and a ground-up design approach that seems to have really
paid off. There are a lot of really innovative ideas in that engine to
improve both economy and power. But from a drivability standpoint, it is
a quite, efficient engine with gobs-o-throw-you-back-in-those-nice-leather-
seats-power. :-O (And that comes from someone with a 454 daily-driver :-) 
(* Larry Piekarski, Software Engineer  1997 Cadillac Instrument Panel *)
(* c1ilep at       Delco Electronics, Kokomo, IN *)
(*       The main thing about acting is honesty. If you can fake      *)
(*       that, you've got it made - George Burns to Jack Lemmon.      *)

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