General Motors Powertrain Division has developed a new V-8 engine for Cadillac vehicles in the 1990s. The Northstar engine incorporates the use of aluminum for both the cylinder block and head and other lightweight materials throughout. The valve train incorporates direct acting hydraulic lifters actuating the four valves per cylinder through dual overhead camshafts.
The primary focus of the project has been to produce an engine of unquestioned reliability and exceptional value which is pleasing to the customer throughout the range of loads and speeds.
The engine was designed with a light weight valve train, low valve overlap and moderate lift, resulting in a very pleasing combination of smooth idle and a broad range of power.
The use of analytical methods early in the design stage enabled systems to be engineered to optimize reliability, pleaseability and value by reducing frictional losses, noise, and potential leak paths, while increasing efficiency and ease of manufacture.