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WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
8/24/15 10:24 p.m.

Hi guys, I'm Dane, I own a 2000 Firebird. Bought it used in 2002 and never really could bring myself to sell it off since I liked not having car payments. I taught myself how to do mechanical work on this car, the suspension/chassis/trans stuff is pretty universal with the V8 F-body so I followed a lot of the tech on the big pages. Hated the "floaty" feel of the old decarbons and finally worked my way up to Strano springs/swaybars and Koni yellows. Car has 3-point subframe connectors which was a nice addition to the wet noodle chassis.

I rebuilt the engine at around 120K miles, new cam, ported intake/heads and all that comlimented the longtube headers quite nicely. Had a built/stalled atuo that was good for drag racing, but the local strip died shortly after I actually got the car tuned.

Did a T-56 swap and started to shift my focus entirely and got to enjoy my first dose of autocross at a local PCA event. I'm so glad we are getting a resurgence in the car scene around here. Way more enjoyment than drag racing. Got a lot of compliments on how the car did, placed midway in the pack which wasn't bad for my first time out on worn out all season tires.

Youtube vid from the first session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjOYRlaVGeY

Second session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2p6y6Zx9w4

Had to do another rebuild at 160K after the timing chain tensioner failed. Rushed the job during the new cam install and broke a valve off at idle in my driveway. Absolutely rookie mistake and I shouldn't have let myself get into that position.

Where'd it go?

Quite fortunate, the valve punched the piston, and cracked the head between the valve guides but the block was okay.

Decided to push forward with the cam I selected and took the block to a machine shop to have it sorted through, address some issues with MY build quality as a novice as well as do the reassembly.

Engine was bored/honed, had flycut pistons ordered (took forever to show up from JE Pistons), rotated the assembly and finally got it back after almost a year of hunting parts through slow to respond vendors.

Yes, I know, beyond belief I kept the V6. I don't really intend to do an LS swap on the Firebird, I'll save those shenanigans for maybe a Volvo Wagon here later.

So during this span, I had ordered a few parts from Alan Blaine at Blaine Fabrication to tighten things up a little more. He's a relatively popular CMC Road Race builder in the F-body page FRRAX and has offered some good guidance to me in the past.

This included parts for a full rebuild on the rear end, including new yukon axles, an Auburn Auto-x/Road Race differential (car came stock with 3.42 and posi), and kept the 3.42 ratio because it was just right for my mixture of daily highway use and some weekend trackday fun. The T-56 I used is one from a GTO, so 6th gear isn't quite as tall as the one from the F-body.

Alan modified a set of global west upper control arms to work around some interference issues they have with lowered cars under heavy cornering.

With sheet metal valve covers that were a little weepy when it got hot as well as just some other pinhole spots including a coolant leak before the rebuild, the underside was like an oil slick in some spots especially the rear. This has already been cleaned and powdercoated for ease of cleaning later on and for easier inspection.

Continued below...

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
8/24/15 10:28 p.m.

Continued from above...

Day 1!

This mostly involved making things clean by making other things dirty. Cleaned up years of grime baked into the power steering rack as well as installed a few "upgrades."

First on the list is a set of boxed swaybar brackets by Blaine Fabrication. These help take care of deflection and bent brackets that the F-body suffers from when running big swaybars and big hot black slicks. Who doesn't like big hot black slicks?

Second is a small piece, but it is a solid bushing for the steering rack. This is actually for Corvettes from Doug Rippie, but it fits our rack as well. This eliminates some slop from the rack, but in all likelihood it is a placebo effect until I get some hoosier slicks on the car. I decided to do this to replace the "squishy" bushing that was in there since it has gone through years of oil/coolant leaks and other crap that I just wanted to get rid of.

Have to take a break from the day's festivities, and this is where I leave the garage for the night/morning:


Day 2:

Second full day of going at it. Had to run some errands here and there, did some more cleanup and wrestled the engine around for a little while. The cardboard came in handy since I could just slide the engine/k-member off the hoist and onto the heavy duty dolly. Hey, if it's stupid and it works, it isn't stupid.

Pretty good shot of the Mal-Wood adapter plate. This allows me to use a full T-56 and LSx bellhousing and just bolt it directly to the engine block.

Ram Clutches throwout bearing spacer (Necessary to compensate for adapter plate and difference in height of the T-5 clutch/flywheel vs. T-56 stuff), OEM slave and Tick remote bleeder.

All installed.

Closer.

Testing things out to see if the engine and trans would roll under the car without touching anything. Makes it easy since the intake plenum isn't installed. 6-ton stands, really nice investment and a lot more room for me to move around under the car without feeling friggin claustrophobic!

Continued below...

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
8/24/15 10:35 p.m.

Day 3:

Kind of a "meh" day of trying to find bolts that were supposed to be in one spot but after a year later, they...migrated. Oh well, found them and got things moving along. Really like the eye for detail that the guys at Total Engine Service have for their engine assembly. It's those little things that tend to make me happy.

"In the beginning, there were no accessories. And then a lot of terse words were spoken..."

New water pump and an underdrive WP pulley from ZZP.

Mmm, all sealed up.

Notice the NPT plug? This prevents unfiltered oil from going through the bypass and washing the mains. Spun bearings are one of the lead causes of 3800 engine death. This helps fight it along with good filter and oil selection. White stuff is just assembly grease that is packed in the passage/oil pump to decrease the amount of time cranking dry to get oil pressure.

Accessorized!


Interlude as I wait on things...

The brown truck stopped by!

UMI Performance Inc. boxed A-Arms. This is pretty much the last part of the suspension puzzle for the car. Just got really busy with other things today and things are competing for my time when I really wanted a clean and open schedule to finish...this...car!

I actually remember asking about boxed A-arms like the LG Motorsports ones a few years back and Ryan from UMI piped up that they actually had prototypes in the works. So, a few years later I finally get around to buying them, better late than never!

Really clean design, looking forward to putting this through the paces soon enough:


"Day 4:"

For the first time since August of last year, there's an engine in the car.

Exhausted and have a few mixed feelings since it has taken so long to get to this point. Still have to reconnect and reinstall a whole lot of parts.

More to come soon as I get a little time here and there to install the stuff I took off or replacing...

mbruneaux
mbruneaux New Reader
8/24/15 11:06 p.m.

3800 love!!!

Opti
Opti Reader
8/25/15 12:02 a.m.

Holy E36 M3!!!! I like the hell out of those valve cover and wheels.

Also is the intake wrinkle paint or just black paint?

PS: Ive always wanted to build a turbo 3.8 4th gen.

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
8/25/15 12:33 a.m.
Opti wrote: Holy E36 M3!!!! I like the hell out of those valve cover and wheels. Also is the intake wrinkle paint or just black paint? PS: Ive always wanted to build a turbo 3.8 4th gen.

Thanks,

Intake and valve covers are powdercoated as cast. So the texture is just there originally.

The wheels are really uncommon. Bought them off an SCCA World Challenge team on racingjunk a few years back that used it on a Camaro. Speedline doesn't have any of their old production records so I can't find out how many of these Mistral 6's were actually made :(

CarLava
CarLava New Reader
8/28/15 3:11 a.m.

Checked out the video. that was pretty awesome. Keeping the v6 will come in handy for future build.

Furious_E
Furious_E Reader
8/28/15 9:55 a.m.

Sweet build! I agree with Opti, the wheels and valve covers look absolutely fantastic. Is that a UMI K member I see as well?

I'll be curious to hear how you like all of the suspension upgrades. I'm trying not to think about winter upgrade plans for my Camaro until I get through my current XJ project, but you're making that awfully difficult. I'm not going to be working with the same budget you have, but might cherry pick a few parts here and there. I've particularly got my eye on the Global West UCAs, as I really need more camber on the front. I'll either be getting a pair of those or slotting the K member.

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
8/28/15 11:54 a.m.
Furious_E wrote: Sweet build! I agree with Opti, the wheels and valve covers look absolutely fantastic. Is that a UMI K member I see as well? I'll be curious to hear how you like all of the suspension upgrades. I'm trying not to think about winter upgrade plans for my Camaro until I get through my current XJ project, but you're making that awfully difficult. I'm not going to be working with the same budget you have, but might cherry pick a few parts here and there. I've particularly got my eye on the Global West UCAs, as I really need more camber on the front. I'll either be getting a pair of those or slotting the K member.

Thanks! It's a PA Racing tubular k-member with "road race" reinforcements so I guess it won't taco on me versus some of the regular drag race oriented ones.

I used to have poly/poly tubular rear lca's and I did start getting unfavorable bind whenever I started running it on the auto-x (originally was just doing straight line so it wasn't a problem). I've loved the Strano springs/swaybars and the koni shocks, they really got rid of that "boat" feel. Suspension before was a large BMR swaybar up front and a swaybar off a B4C Camaro in the rear but with QA1 adjustable shocks on all four corners. Good grief that thing would porpoise all over the place.

Looking forward to getting it done...

TIGMOTORSPORTS
TIGMOTORSPORTS HalfDork
8/28/15 7:47 p.m.

High five for the 3800 build

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
8/28/15 9:53 p.m.

Ohhh yeah!

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
8/28/15 10:08 p.m.

Up next, modifying the spindles to handle these bad boys...

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UltimaDork
8/29/15 12:13 a.m.

One thing to note on the oil bypass delete, make sure to only use steel center oil filters, the plastic cage type will collapse and kill the flow. This is probably common knowledge by now but a dangerous enough thing that it deserves be noted regardless.

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
8/29/15 12:21 a.m.

DING DING DING!

Forgot to mention that. Yes, I use an ACDelco PF52 that is metal core (I always check before installation as well), the PF52E is a plastic core. This is a larger body filter used on some of the trucks but fits the 3800 without any issues.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UltimaDork
8/29/15 12:41 a.m.

Yeah, I was gonna say a PF52 or equivalent (I like WIX), not the "e" variant, is the oversize one you want, but it's been too long since my short lived terrible experience with a 3800 S2 to have been sure.

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
9/24/15 2:45 p.m.

Progress got stalled a bit, just really busy with other things.

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
10/12/15 1:13 a.m.

Made a little progress yesterday. Got in some good Daddy-daughter time as well, she was pretty excited to get to work on stuff for the car.

AntiArrhythmic
AntiArrhythmic New Reader
10/12/15 6:43 a.m.

Cool build. If this was a V8 build I probably would have skipped over it. What are your power goals?

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
10/12/15 9:22 a.m.

300-ish at the crank. I'm kinda pushing the boundaries a lot on this engine. Last one that was close to this with a baby cam did ~280 at the tires on race gas but my cam is a lot larger and bleeds of the compression a bit.

Static compression ratio of 11.03:1 Dynamic compression ratio is 9.52:1

I will more than likely do a pump gas tune that can make good power but not at the ragged edge, I still want to see how much it can make through the midrange which is so much more important for me right now.

BlueInGreen44
BlueInGreen44 HalfDork
10/13/15 10:35 a.m.

I like your Firebird. I usually prefer Mustangs but I've always had a odd fondness for the 3800 engines since my first car was a Lumina LTZ so it's cool to see one of those getting built up instead of a V8.

And, as others have said. Those wheels are awesome! They suit the car perfectly.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA HalfDork
10/13/15 11:09 a.m.

Cool build! I'm liking the V6 W/300 HP, Don't normally pay attention to the gen 4 V6 cars but I'll be watching this thread!

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
10/13/15 11:13 a.m.

Nice to see a V6 build! What does the iron 3.8 weigh compared to a aluminum block LS?

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
10/13/15 11:41 a.m.
BlueInGreen44 wrote: I like your Firebird. I usually prefer Mustangs but I've always had a odd fondness for the 3800 engines since my first car was a Lumina LTZ so it's cool to see one of those getting built up instead of a V8. And, as others have said. Those wheels are awesome! They suit the car perfectly.

Thanks, I appreciate it! I love the wheels and always searching for something similar but always come up empty handed :(

NOT A TA wrote: Cool build! I'm liking the V6 W/300 HP, Don't normally pay attention to the gen 4 V6 cars but I'll be watching this thread!

Yeah, considering the car did 168 to the tires with full longtubes and a tune, this should be kinda cool having come close to doubling the power.

2002maniac wrote: Nice to see a V6 build! What does the iron 3.8 weigh compared to a aluminum block LS?

I think it is maybe 100lb difference between the two with the LS1 being heavier. I have some tubular suspension and chassis components that drops that weight on the nose even more.

WarShrike
WarShrike New Reader
12/10/15 9:38 p.m.

Been busy with school, since it's out it is time to get back to wrenching. Still have a long laundry list of things to accomplish.

Finally got the k-member aligned as well as the trans cross member:

Still nothing to attach wheels to:

Gonna clean these things up after I do the new collectors:

Acme Lab Rat
Acme Lab Rat New Reader
12/10/15 10:22 p.m.

Will one of these fit on there? I know the L67 is basically just a supercharged version of the L36 - lower compression, IIRC.

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