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Oldsmobile Aurora



  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    ewt - I used to think that a chip or a unit to reprogram the OBD2 was the big answer. But the more I looked into it and hearing comments from you and RJS, I really don't think they are the greatest. I even remember watching a gear-head show on TV (Crank & Chrome)where they had a 2000 Corvette. They put a K&N induction kit on it and got +21 HP at the wheels. Incredible. They dyno'd it right there. Then they used the superchips "microtuner". I think it added 10 more HP at the wheels. They were disappointed and then explained - "oops we forgot to tell superchips that we added an induction kit. They would have made a modified program for us."

    Maybe that had some truth to it, but I wonder if that "microtuner" ever did much. +10 on the Aurora is pretty cool from anything, +10 on a 2000 Corvette is not a big deal for such a sophisticated program change.

    Autobahn95 - oh man. Let us know about the 4.6 in the Aurora if/when you do it. The Aurora is just so cool looking. Definitely worth a 4.6. All your mechanical resources sound great.

    ewt - yeah, my air box mod added peak torque without peak HP and it is just the way you said. The box mod is helpful up to a certain rpm. Apparently after a certain rpm, the air flow rate and flow characteristics inside the box are no better than stock - so yeah the peak torque gained but the peak HP did not - or not much. But I got HP and torque through most of the curve with it.

    I don't expect Granatelli to do anything. I'll let you know. Somehow I don't really care much. It's not the end of the world. I've had a lot of fun, learned a hell of a lot, and hopefully will prevent someone else from getting crapped on.

    It's nice to know that the K&N products do what they claim. That's one good thing.
  • Garnes, Too bad about the MAF, I was hoping you'd say it made great improvements, than I'd have to get one. Bummer that it dosen't. I think the sensor would help for seriously modified engines, where stock air flow is the weakest link.

    How much were your Dyno runs? What was Highest HP made. Under stock rating of 250?

    I still plan on using RSM's intake, throttle body, and tourque plate. I will go through it all and dyno before and after, and again (with exhaust). I'll post all over and let Aurora owners know the truth about is it possibly to gain performance.

    Recap, imagine this intake

    with a heat shield kinda like this

    Note that the RSM kit angles down lower and more towards the opening where the stock air box pulls air from, more than the caddy does. This should give a greater opportunity for outside air than engine compartment air. My heat shield/air deflector will be different than the caddy. Figuring out how I'll make it sit against the hood. Might use thick tin foil mock up, attach it and close the hood, what ever didn't krinkle up, thats how tall it will be. Also still plan on ramming some air. Haven't taken out the stock air box, other than to through a K&N filter in. So hose placement hasn't been decided. I'll make it work. Will take pictures of parts, install, dash kit and the 800watt stero system. Where can I post pictures w/o my own site?

  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    rjs - couldn't open the link. Sounds good. I like the way you point out bias in these magazines. It's a sad joke sometimes how problems will be dismissed for certain cars.

    On another note - Get a look at the April 8 edition of Business Week. It's got a great article about Cadillac.

    They note that Bob Lutz looked at the finished design for the new STS and said "It looks like a kid with a big forehead". It was sent back for redesign of several areas on the body to make it "beautiful". Apparently the designers were going after the "most headroom in its class". Give me a break. I'm 6'3" and my Aurora with the moonroof is still fine. Who are these goofs trying to impress - the NBA? I know this is all subjective, but I say get the pin-heads out of design that would sacrifice looks to add headroom to a car that probably had plenty to start with.

    These guys probably worked on the Aztek too. Who knows.

    Anyway, from the article, it sounds like this thing might look great. It will have more power than the 4.6 and maybe a supercharger will be an option. If it looks good, this could be a great car to pick up used 4+ years from now - or buy a new one in 2004 if you got the big bucks.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    800watta - The place I've gone to would charge 85 and I'd do a lot of runs and screw around with variations on the box (intake from bottom only, stock side inlet only, both) as well as the basic thing I wanted to test. I think this guy I've used is pretty fair considering how much time he'd spend with me. It takes a while to set it all up. Make sure traction is OFF, and you are in 3rd - 1 to 1.

    If you have never done it, it is a big rush. The heart gets pounding. It's a blast.

    Most HP was about about 203 or so. Other days most was about 198 with the mods. Stock air box with a clean paper filter was 189 to 192. This is measured at the wheels. 189/250 = .756 192/250 = .768. That seems about right for what makes it to the wheels I guess. All my tests have been done to a car with 20+k miles and I've pampered the thing with M1 changes very frequently. It's running true I believe. For reference the 2000 vette on Crank&Chrome I mentioned above got 265 at the wheels. 265/350 = .757. It's rear wheel drive and different in a lot of ways I'm sure, but it's all in the ball park.

    Don't get hung up on the numbers. Just look for changes. There are different HP standards. My tests were listed as SEA HP and torque. Also, the dyno computer compensates for atmospheric conditions and applies a correction factor. Yesterday it was .99. It's been .98 and sometimes 1.0 to try to correct for a standard condition. It is OK, but still not good enough to use one day against another. You MUST test things back to back on the same day in my opinion for the spot-on comparisons. The correction factor is not real sensitive to conditions. It just keeps thing "reasonably close" in my opinion. Two different days might use .98 but the conditions are a little different. Just a little more temp or pressure change and it changes to .99 That will change the calc by 2 hp even though the atmospheric conditions were perhaps just barely enough to change the program.

    Make sure you test stock with clean paper vs your modification.

    Suggestion - try placing a piece of tape to the edge of your heat shield. Close the hood. If it sticks to the hood or insulator, then it seals. If not, you still have a gap. There may be some way to measure it all out - but it seems hard to know where the inside of the hood is when closed. You may have to experiment with the tape thing - you may need a little something on the back to make it stay in place as you drop the hood. Try 2 sided tape.

    Also - Call Wheel to Wheel. They made a scoop that goes into the inside of the fender to catch the air flow inside the fender. They made the 398 HP deville and do the GM pace cars. Call them. They are very nice. Just ask for the guys that know about the Tim Allen 398 HP deville. I think I'll call them again. They were going to send me some info on that.

    Another note - I'm not trying to dissuade you from trying this induction, but Wheel to Wheel modified the air box on that Deville as I did. I laughed when they started describing it to me. I felt a little better about doing it then. I think your system has a lot of potential and might even be better. I am interested to know how it goes.

    Good luck.

    Oh - that MAF is just a piece of crap. It would not help under any condition IMO. It just doesn't seem to be able to measure air flow correctly. Hence worthless. Cool paper weight though.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    Garnes, did you cut and paste it? I don't know why I can't post a "word" with more than 115 letters in it. This means any long link can't be posted (at least by me...). I will put a link to it on my little Aurora website. It really is worth reading.

    800watt, you can just get a Geocities or Yahoo (or a million other) free websites to post your pictures on. If you want, send them to me at and I will make a little page for them.

    Herbv, hammen2 is right, but he didn't mention the traction control. It was an option on the 3.5, so your car may not have it, but the owners manual will still mention it. If there is no button, I doubt it has it. Plus, look on the build sheet under the spare tire cover in the trunk. The traction control will have the code "T2C". Cars introduced after Jan 1 of a given year can either be that year's model or the next year's. The Aurora introduced in early 2000 chose to be an early 2001 rather than a late 2000 model, so your 2000 build date would still be a 2001 model. Olds was still kicking when it came out, so the 3/36 warranty was the norm. The 5/60 didn't happen until the word came down that Olds was getting pulled.

    Supposedly the 4.6 "next-gen" Northstar in the XLR will make around 315hp. Perhaps it will be a bit more robust with a flatter torque curve than the current 300hp version.

    I don't think chasis dynos tend to be good for estimating crank power, but rather just for seeing trends as Garnes noted. However Garnes, I think you meant SAE horsepower (as in Society of Automotive Engineers) not SEA (as in the ocean). How do you keep it in 3rd while still putting the pedal to the floor? Do you just measure a limited rpm range like 4,000-redline?

    800watt, I might suggest just buying a G-Tech type meter and measuring performance instead. It would:
    1) be more interesting to know the time shaved rather than power gained.
    2) be more consistent (coolant temps matter a bit less, plus proper cooling happens as the car is actually moving) and can be standardized with NHRA tables for atmospheric conditions.
    3) be more likely to accurately reflect any ram-air/cold-air induction because air is actually moving past the car as you drive.
    4) be about $200 and you can test your car as many times over as many days as you want.
    5) could be used to measure other mods such as suspension and brake upgrades.

    There is an interesting device from the UK on caddieinfo, and also GTech seems to have a new one with similar features as well. I posted a link to see the GTech one earlier. It looks pretty cool. I think if I were to break down and buy an exhaust I would probably buy a GTech or something similar to see what it really does.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    rjs - I'll send you a picture of the 98 when I put the new Aurora 17's on. I think it should look great.

    You have some good points on the G-Tech kind of equipment. As long as it is accurate, you can measure the effect while actually moving and test more to your hearts content. Could be a lot cheaper in the long run too. has some good stuff comparing different models of such units.

    I am really looking forward to the new northstar. It should indeed have optimal HP and torque characteristics together with the variable timing added. I hope there will be a supercharged option too. Sounds like the new STS has a chance of really looking good and with the handling shown in the CTS and added power, this car could be awesome.

    I tried to cut and paste and did as you said, but it "couldn't open the site" or whatever. I am really interested in reading it.

    The chassis dyno is fine. If you were there I don't think you would doubt the repeatability. It amazes me too really. Anyway, if you measure say a 10 HP gain, or loss and you figure 75% is getting to the wheels then 10/.75 = 13.3 at the crank. Use 80% 10/.80 = 12.5. That's not bad at all. I really don't want to get into a discussion as to % gets to the wheels, but I'm confident that the change has been measured accurately and it's not a stretch to estimate within .5 to 1 HP what happens at the crank for a typical 5 to 10 HP mod. This applies to engine mods of course. I realize a tighter shifting tranny can give more power to the wheels even though the engine is the same.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    rjs - yes - SAE. Going fast again. Man are you grading me or what?

    I put it in 3rd. It goes through 1, 2, and 3. You can look at 3rd (about 4100 and up) or you can look at the power gains "through the gears" which has the entire rpm range shown. My graphs on have MPH on the x-axis for the "through the gears thing" but you can see the power gain just the same all the way up. You can look at any gear at any rpm range really. What ever you want to print out.

    I think the new Northstar will be a 4.2 L. I think the new Caddies will be incredible cars.
  • jwadlejwadle Posts: 12
    Well I feel stupid... It was a bad new strut.. Guess that should have been my first guess.. Oh well..

    In answer to another question, about price and what kind of struts: they are the sensatrac struts by monroe, and the struts we $78.00 a piece, then $80.00 a piece for the mounts and bearings.. All in all a pretty easy job, just be sure that have an air or electric impact wrench, that strut mount nut is very very hard to get on and off with out spinning the shaft, even if you have a hex wrench in there.

    Oh yea, the car rides great, very much like I wanted it to ride, the old struts even though they were not leaking or anything were shot. I pushed the shot in and they took about a 1/2 hour to pop back out.

  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    Garnes, that was very interesting. Here is a link if anyone else is interested. There are some other articles about GM that were interesting as well.

    Jwadle, are the OEM struts gas-charged? Not all struts push out, or push out hard. All they really need to do is dampen. The springs do the pushing. Some shock/struts push real hard, but they don't all do that. Glad you got the rattle resolved.

  • I'm going to disconnect battery to replace steering wheel buttons/airbag. Anyone advise as to how to proceed to make sure radio works after I'm done?
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    beachlover- I've disconnected the battery over night and have not noticed anything that has gone wrong.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    I think Caddy is going in the right direction. I've always thought they need to redesign everything, but keep the Deville the way it is for the duffers. They are doing just that, and hopefully the STS will not look like a sporty variation of a Deville.
  • musclecar97musclecar97 Posts: 111
    Thanks for the dyno info., I suspected as much. All GM autos kick off the ac compressor at full throttle.

    autoban95...the engine swap is the holy grail that we have all been waiting for, you really need to do this so we can live vicariously through you and dream of doing it ourselves someday.
  • musclecar-
    i've been dreaming of that engine swap for a while now. i know it can be done, considering there is hardly any difference in blocks and the trannys are identical. it won't be for a while though until things fall into place. cash is tight right now - i'm going to the University of Buffalo for dual majors, aerospace and mechanical engineering. tuition isn't cheap these days, but it should be worth it in the long run.
    maybe i could offer to wash and wax other people's Auroras for some money on the side since i love detailing mine so much! LOL
  • thanx garnes...
    but now your answer begs the question...
    what is "theftlock" and what does it do?
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    It is a theft prevention feature. Usually you have to set it, though. When you set it, you set a password/PIN. Then when the power is removed, you have to enter the password again for it to work. If you never pick a password, then the theftlock doesn't do anything. If you aren't the original owner, then someone else might have set it. You can check somehow (based on the way the light blinks) to see if it is set, or get a dealers assistance to reset it. On the newer Auroras, the theftlock is automatic. It can tell if it is still in the same car after a power loss, so the owner doesn't have to do anything.
  • HenryHenry Posts: 1,106
    "maybe i could offer to wash and wax other people's Auroras for some money on the side since i love detailing mine so much! LOL"

    I am glad you laughed.

    I am sure I speak for the majority of the aROARians here when I say -- "Nobody touches my car but me!"
    But thanks for the light hearted offer.

    I am hoping for someone on our little board to take the plung and put in the Caddie 4.6. I will not be far behind you if it really makes a difference. Though I admit I would probably buy another Aurora to do it with. (Although my 95 is used to going under the knife. -- The Shop King.)

    By the way, if I start saving now, put a 2nd mortgage on the house, and cash out my 401K, I should have enough to get the Caddie CIEN if/when it comes out.
  • blk97aurorablk97aurora Posts: 573

    Has the weather warmed up enough for you to replace your brake rotors and pads? How did it go? Can you tell us the brand, model, and part numbers for the cross-drilled rotors you mentioned in post #2251? I believe the front rotors on my '97 are a bit larger in diameter than the '95-96's, but it would be good to have the part numbers anyway. Are your rears vented? I think mine must be solid, judging from the thickness (0.433") listed in the service manual, but I have not looked at the edge yet to see for sure. What did you decide to use for pads?

    Did you need a special tool to bottom the cylinder that automatically adjusts the parking brake function?

    The prices you quote are excellent compared to stock GM replacements which list at $203 front and $87 rear. I found a dealership willing to discount over the internet for $129 and $55 respectively. I'd rather have the cross-drilled at a lower price if there is no problem with them.
  • blk97-
    to answer your first question, no, the weather hasn't warmed up enough yet to do the brake job. a whopping 26 degrees here right now! but that fact doesn't restrict me from passing along the information about the rotors. i do have pictures of them and i'd be more than willing to email them to you if you'd like.
    they are made by a company called roto-tech,out of Canada. the appearance of the rotors is that of very high quality and precision machine work. if they perform as good as they look, i will be very happy.
    i have the bill in front of me now, and the part numbers are 56325X for the fronts, at $40.95 each.
    for the rears, they are 56241X, and they are $26.95 each. i had them special ordered through Hutchins Automotive, i'm not sure if they are a nationwide chain parts store or not. they took about 3 weeks to get, since they machine them to order from what i understand. i couldn't have done the machine work myself for that price.
    both the front rotors and the rears are cross-drilled and vented on the friction surfaces. however, only the fronts are "finned", just like OEM since they are so much thicker.
    as for brake pads, i am going with the Grizzly pads which can be bought at Halfway Auto parts. i haven't actually purchased them yet, so i am not able to quote you a price. i chose Grizzly pads because i can get the same compound for both fronts and rears, where with a few other brands, i could only get high performance compounds for the fronts, and i would have to use a cheaper grade on the rears. i like to keep things balanced. another reason for the Grizzly's is that i've heard they produce very little brake dust. i did find some incredibly high-performance Kevlar (green) pads for both front and rear at i believe the coefficient of friction for those was around .46, where for most other pads that number would be around .33 or so. (i'm pulling those numbers from memory, so they may be off a touch.) maybe the next time around i'll spring for the Kevlars!
    just let me know if you have any other questions.
  • I'm going to look into the GTech thing, probably could get a lot of use out of it between me and my friends. I was talking over my plan with my father and he told me that they just bought a new Dyno machine at work! Waiting for electricians to install. He's the maintance supervisor for a vocational school, part of building is autos with 75 car lifts. He's the boss, I'm in! Hopefully unlimited free dynos. Just give the guy a case of beer everytime. Waiting for the free dyno might delay my mods but, it's worth it for all the info I can get. Probably buy a Gtech for fun anyways.

  • s2261s2261 Posts: 14
    Is there a way to pull DTC codes on a '97 without a Tech 1 scan tool. I know how to do it with the older OBD I system. I have never done it with the OBD II system. I have a flaky fuel guage. It should throw a code if the sending unit is bad. The SES light is not on.
  • blk97aurorablk97aurora Posts: 573

    I'm interested in any answer you get about reading the codes. I can't afford an OBDII readar yet, and I am finding there is a big difference in features across the brands and models. I was really disappointed to find that my '97 Aurora had no built-in function to display the DTC codes after owning an '86 Toro that had that capability. Progress?!?*

    My fuel guage is also flaky. There is a fuel level sensor kit available from AC-Delco for about $105 list. I haven't replaced it yet because I'm not absolutely sure it is the culprit (hence my great interest in your question about reading codes), and I'm also thinking about replacing the fuel pump as preventive maintenance given Henry's experience in the Holland Tunnel. Does anyone know if new fuel pumps come with a new fuel level sensor?
  • kemo444kemo444 Posts: 15
    blk97, when you get ready to buy a scan tool, check out they have ODBII readers for $170.00. it is a INNOVA 3100 digital, it works great, has some good features and has saved me some major bucks.
  • worldii2worldii2 Posts: 27
    blk97aurora I had my 96 to dealer three times under warranty in which fuel level sensor you referred to was replace three times. My fuel gauge is still inaccurate. Being inaccurate gives
    an erroneous distance to empty. I am still under warranty and should take it in, however, I use the gallons used info in the DIC. Dealer never mention fuel pump along with sensor. I have had new filter put in pump. Hope we both can get some info regarding the fuel gauge.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    When you get your 17" 2001 wheels, will they already have tires on them? I was curious how much each of the wheels weighs if you can find out. Thanks!
  • I'm a mailman and a "little old lady" on my route has a 1995, beautiful mocha colored Aurora that she has offered to sell me. It is in showroom condition ,with 27,000 miles on it.It's gorgeous! I have two questions.1]What is a fair offer on this car? 2]Whatproblems can I expect from a 95 with this mileage on it? Thanks!
  • blk97aurorablk97aurora Posts: 573

    Thank you for your valuable research. I want to take you up on your offer of photos of the roto-tech rotors, both front and rear. My email address is
  • HenryHenry Posts: 1,106
    What is the build date on the 1995? Check the door panel and let us know. Also, check the miles till empty on the DIC. The higher the number on a full tank, the "softer" the car has ben driven.
  • daevendaeven Posts: 28
    Checking in again with an update on my 200K+ mile 1995 Aurora.

    My Aurora is probably one of the 'tiredest' ones around here, but I can't believe this engine is anywhere near needing to be replaced. But if you just want to see what it's like, I'll take up a collection to pay for it and volunteer my car for the operation to put in a 4.6L!

    What implications will this have for my well-used transmission? Which 4.6L should I be looking for? Do you think a run-of-the-mill local mechanic could do the swap, or is it going to require a Cadie hotrod shop? Do any of the Caddie use the same transmission. I may actually price this swap out if it's not going to destroy my trans.

    I don't know if I posted this last time, but my radiator developed a crack. I had a guy put in a replacement ordered from a radiator shop that cost $240. The dealer price for this part is $600.

    Too bad the guy left a transmission cooler line loose. I had been losing a bit more "oil" on the driveway than usual. In fact, I think some of the oil was splashed all over the bodywork. Since it was time for a transmission fluid flush, I had it looked at - they found the loose connector and said it was about 3 quarts low. It really was starting to run bad - now its much better! I would have been checking the level, except someone (dealer?) installed a coolant flushout of some kind over the top of the transmission opening. I've been meaning to more that thing out of the way!

    Someone asked about what oil I use in my car. No, I don't use synthetic, and I do wait for the DIC to tell me when to change the oil. I generally do it myself with Penzoil dino-oil and a Fram filter. I'm not sure how the previous owner took care of it for the first 150K miles.

    I did check with the original dealer for maintenance records. They had minimal records on this car - nothing major.

    Dan - Naperville, IL
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    The Cadillacs use the same 4T80-E transmission that you have in your Aurora, and the engine blocks have the same external dimensions. I would bet it would mount up with very little problem. You would probably also need a Northstar PCM and perhaps injectors/sensors and a wiring harness, though. If you're lucky you would just need a new computer. It would be pretty neat. I guess you would have a choice between the 275hp version and the 300hp version. If you have an autobahn Aurora, the 300hp version might be the way to go as the shorter final-drive would compensate for the 300hp's lower torque. Without the autobahn package, the 275hp version might be better as it has a more robust torque curve.

    If you are concerned about the tranny, you could always have it rebuilt (unless that's real expensive). I imagine it could take it, though.

    I doubt you'd need a hotrod Caddy place, but they might be better if they are more familiar with things. A mechanic that you find competent would probably be fine, though.

    Why'd you go with Fram filters and not ACDelco, as they tend to cost about the same?

    I have to say, if your Aurora has that many miles on it, I wouldn't swap the engine. I would run it until it died so I could see how far it went. I think racking up that kind of mileage is pretty cool.
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