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Old 08-08-2005, 10:49 PM
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the 3800 series GM block

Hello. I was just given my father's 2001 LeSabre with the 3.8 engine in it. I love the sytling of the car but its built for older people and not for 20 year olds (unfortunately). I was thinking about adding the supercharger from an SSEi or a Regal and was wondering if the short block in the supercharged engines were the same as the non-supercharged ones. Also, what else would need to be changed (I'm basically assuming the intake, fuel rails, injectors, and computer)? I am looking into a little bit more boost then stock as well. Any help there?

My biggest problem right now is that I don't know too many people that are building performance 3.8's (FWD).

Im also looking into bigger brakes, stiffer suspension, and a manual trans if anyone has advice about those.

Thanks a lot for any and all help. Please let me know if I need to ellaberate.

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Old 08-09-2005, 03:56 AM
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Here ya go...

You should find some info and helpful people here....

www.turbobuick.com

Check out the Supercharged 3800 forum.
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Old 08-09-2005, 04:56 AM
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There is a ton of stuff for the 3800 Series II like yours and a LOT of people are doing some amazing things with them but it is $$$ so be prepared. Search for some FWD Grand Prix forums, you'll be surprised at what's out there. There are some high dollar stock bodied GTP's that are running 11's. A Le Sabre is only a hundred Lbs. or so heavier than a GTP and as far as suspension the Bonneville is the same car under the skin so any of the suspension and brake goodies for the Bonneville will fit and there's quite a bit available. Just find a complete Supercharged 3800 to swap in, they are enough different than the NA version that it's cheaper to start with the blown version than try to convert one. With some tuning on the supercharged 3800 and a gear swap in the 4T65E transaxle you could have yourself an easy 14 second sleeper after that it's all a matter of how FA$T you wanna go.
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Old 08-09-2005, 06:47 AM
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Why not go with a turbocharger? They sell complete kits for them.

I would start with the cheaper but necessary mods to build up to the supercharger or turbocharger, and then when funds allow it you already have the system completed.

I already started on my 2000 Impala but more for free flow as an attempt at more mileage.

Remove the restrictive air cleaner housing and replace with a cold air kit that brings air from behind the bumper, or if there is no way to realistically route it from there, go for an inner fenderwell air inlet. Mine is still located behind the headlight assembly, but uses a less restrictive air cleaner element.

Don't worry about the PCM being out in the open as opposed to inside the air cleaner housing, it's only going to get dirtier- but nothing else will be affected.

Behind that, check to see if your car (it most likely does) has the throttle body inlet screen, if it does, carefully remove it by using a sharp knife and removing the retainer clip and carefully sliding the screen straight out of the throttle body housing inlet, it's just over inch thick and it does make a difference.

I said to carefully remove the screen, because some cars have had a tendency to not accept the throttle body being unrestricted and this has caused some minor problems. Mine acted just fine.

Check your throttle position sensor and make sure the readings are within specs, if not- don't waste money on a new one you don't need.
The rivets holding the two halves together (the mounting screws go through the middle of the rivets into the throttle body) can be carefuly drilled out to allow some movement of the TPS and gain the readings that will allow the PCM to do a slightly better job from the slightly more accurate readings.

Don't bother wasting money on MSD ignition coil packs thinking you will get anything out of them, YOU WILL, less money in your wallet, these have a higher failure rate than the stock coil packs- which WILL send a misfire fault code to your PCM. Better wires and plugs are a no brainer though.
Can't get to your rear sparkplugs very easy? Remove the upper engine mounts and "roll" the engine forward, it tells to do this in the service manuals.

Remove the U-bend in the exhaust pipe just behind the catalytic converter, and replace with a straight section of pipe with the Oxygen sensor mounted at a 45 upward angle to the side with the most wiring harness accessability.
That bend costs you several horsepower, and mileage too. It's only there to protect the O sensor from road debris (not likely for you to be taking this car off road is it?).

Replace the entire exhaust system with a less restrictive catalytic converter, straight pipe where the U-bend was, forget about replacing the resonator you want SOME sound, a less restrictive muffler in the resonators' place and your choice from there on single or dual exhaust exits.
These body style cars have the option of dual exhaust from the factory or add-on from the aftermarket, FORGET THEM BOTH, you do not need TWO mufflers to do the same job one single muffler can more than handle, besides the savings in weight.

Another major gain would be a reprogrammed PCM.

From there, you need to replace your transmission from the 4T60E to the 4T65E, and choose what gear ratio and corresponding tires you want to run, there is also a limited slip unit available for the 4T65E.

At this point you will be better off buying a supercharged (L67) 3800 series engine WITH the corresponding PCM, and either installing that with a reprogrammed PCM (use the one with the car now for that purpose), or transplanting the turbocharger onto the supercharged engine (replacing the supercharger in the process) the turbo kit uses part of the supercharger intake manifold. Use the headers for the supercharged engine, or the full turbocharger kit that comes with the necessary parts.

Not the same make/model, but same drivetrain. I hang out there too.
http://naioa.com/impalabb/index.php

Parts that you will need can be found here.
www.pfyc.com

The most knowledgable bunch of guys on the net for the late model GrandPrix's, which shares the same drivetrain your car does.
http://www.grandprix.net/
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Old 08-09-2005, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M&M CUSTOM
Can't get to your rear sparkplugs very easy? Remove the upper engine mounts and "roll" the engine forward, it tells to do this in the service manuals.
Not a problem on H-bodies........


Quote:
Originally Posted by M&M CUSTOM
From there, you need to replace your transmission from the 4T60E to the 4T65E, and choose what gear ratio and corresponding tires you want to run, there is also a limited slip unit available for the 4T65E.
He should already have the 4T65E, the LeSabre should have switched to the 65 when they switched from the Series I 3800 to the Series II about '96 or '97.

A good source for a Supercharged Series II would be a Park Avenue, they're common and have rarely been flogged.
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Old 08-09-2005, 07:43 AM
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I don't know if the blocks are the same, although I assume they are.

The LeSabre and Park Avenue are nearly identical. I would suspect that the wiring harnesses are pretty close too.

Anyhow, if you have access to a salvage yard that would allow it, you can probably get everything you need to do the conversion - PCM, intake, sensors, etc.

This would get you to where the stock P/A is, but the LeSabre is lighter, so you'd be ahead. Then you could start modding from there, if you wanted.

I'm more familiar with Cadillacs. From that era, there was a separate BCM (body control module) and ECM/PCM (Engine Control Module/Powertrain Control Module). You may need the matching BCM out of the P/A to "talk" to the PCM off the P/A, or maybe not. Not sure what else out of the P/A you would need, but potentially the climate control system comes to mind. I think Buicks used a BCM too.

I had a '91 (non-supercharged) P/A a few years ago. I highly recommend getting both the factory service manual and the electronic manual. The electronic manual, in particular, is invaluable. Its large format (11 x 17?) wire bound and has ungodly amounts of diagrams. With that in hand, you could probably figure out just about anything you needed to.

Depending on the salvage yard, and the donor, you might be able to get off pretty cheap, all things considered. Would be a lot of work, but a fun and interesting project.


My advice would be to get on ebay and find factory manuals for both your current vehicle and the P/A, G/P, Bonneville, or whatever you think the donor would be. Go through the schematics of both and see what needs to be changed. Yes, its an investment of both time and money up front. However, its better than spending a bunch on parts, putting it all together, and then finding out you can't make it work. You're probably going to need those manuals anyhow, so you may as well get them ahead of time and put in some research. You can always resell them if you find out you can't make it work.


One last thing...if you live in an area with emissions testing, you could potentially have problems. I believe (although I could be wrong) that a swap like this would violate the letter of the law, even though the result would likely be compliant. Probably unlikely, but something to consider before investing time and money...
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Old 08-09-2005, 12:32 PM
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Most states allow certain exemptions when using a newer engine than that originally installed in the car. Especially since they are getting more emissions compliant by the passing year.

That info about the 4T65E in the larger cars is pretty nice to know, in case I "find" a bunch of money and decide to put a turbocharger on my Impala.

The PCM in the newer ones like my Y2K Impala control both engine and transmission. The BCM is another unit and in mine as well as many others is not 100% reliable.
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Old 08-09-2005, 12:38 PM
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Have you considered selling the LeSabre and buying something more suited to your needs? Personally I wouldn't want to throw money at a car like that to make it quicker I would just drive it.
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghetto Jet
Have you considered selling the LeSabre and buying something more suited to your needs? Personally I wouldn't want to throw money at a car like that to make it quicker I would just drive it.
2 Problems with that-

My father said that I could have the car, but not sell it.
#2- Hot Rodding is all about doing new things, not what everyone else does

I really like the styling of the car- its really classy in my opinion- it's just too grandpa-like to me.

Thanks for all the info- I sure would appreciate more though...
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Old 08-10-2005, 05:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StudebakerBob
I really like the styling of the car- its really classy in my opinion- it's just too grandpa-like to me.
My daily driver is a '94 LeSabre with wheels off a '95 Olds LSS and 225/60-16's. I have had a lot of comments on the addition of the wheels, all positive. I've had several people tell me it doesn't even look like a Buick with those wheels on it. It's really showing it's 179,000 miles now but I still get a lot of double takes and nods of appreciation.

I'm not real big on adding wings and spoilers to cars that didn't have them from the factory but I passed a LeSabre a couple years ago with a small spoiler on the back and thought it didn't look too bad. When I pulled along side I looked over to give the kid driving a "nod", the car was loaded with little old ladies with blue hair! My guess is someone added the spoiler so she could tell where the back of the car was but it still didn't look too shabby.
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Old 08-10-2005, 01:30 PM
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The late model 3.8 is not the 3.8 of years ago... you need to go to:
www.3800pro.com you will find what you need to know there.

Chris
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Old 08-11-2005, 06:07 AM
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I found a good source of info with that forum link. And another hangout.
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Old 08-11-2005, 03:12 PM
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How about any manual transmissions that will bolt up?
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Old 08-11-2005, 05:42 PM
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There is one manual that will work, it was available in certain cutlass's. I have the info saved, I will look it up. I know they were a rare option and are not real easy to find.

Found it. It is a Getrag 284, only used behind the 3.4 DOHC. Here is a link to one installed in a Reatta, pretty much the same thing.

It would have helped to include the link.
http://www.cardomain.com/ride/465867/2

Last edited by 1ownerT; 08-11-2005 at 05:54 PM.
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