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V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/29/20 10:17 a.m.

I meant that I was late because I'm just now posting, but I'll just get out what most people think... Maybe I'd get there on time if I had an LS.  cheeky

Now that that's out of the way, I'm pretty excited to post here.  I love seeing all the crazy swaps and low-buck builds.  You guys were an inspiration to get me started on this car.  Now I've actually been a Buick guy for as long as I can remember, but building a nice one is not for those with shallow pockets anymore. I've thought about taking a few risks on Buick engines with low budget builds, but I'd hate to waste a good block just because I'm a cheapskate. They aren't exactly plentiful anymore either, so I bent my rules to fit my lifestyle.

Enter this turd with Buick V6 power!  My best friend's dad bought this car brand new after searching for months. He's the type that won't pay any more than bottom dollar for a car, so he got the car that the dealership didn't even want on their lot. It's an '02 with the only option on the build sheet being rear defrost. Supposedly, the dealership only had it so that they could advertise "Brand new Camaros for under $10k." Once he upgraded the Camaro to a black on black '17 SS with a 6-speed (ultra jealous) he handed the keys to me.

Unfortunately, the car had sat in the driveway for a couple years, and needed some serious work.  However, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take in a car that I had ridden in so many times since 2nd grader. Besides, black was my color, and a perfect example was not what I wanted either.  The whole point was to buy a pile that I could modify, beat on, and break without feeling an ounce of remorse.  I already had my low-mile '86 Grand National as a my nice weather Sunday cruiser, and it sucked not having a car that I could enjoy on my way to work and at the track.  Once I threw a new battery and a set of tires at this basic F-body, I made the 4 hour trip back to Indy.  It rode like a dream.

I drove it to work a couple times just because I was thrilled about how nice it drove and how great the fuel mileage was, but I quickly got over it. By quickly, I mean it only took a week or so.  Apart it came!  I didn't need another daily driver anyway.
I'd give you a more detailed summary of what I did, but it would take me hours to write it, and I think that would drive me absolutely crazy. Here's just a few pictures that detail what happened over the course of a year.

 

 

 

It's hard to see on Camera that I did actually make a custom grille, so here's a better angle.

And here we are....

My modifications so far are
-6765 ebay turbo
-Precision PW40 wastegate
-Custom turbo exhaust utilizing a stock Camaro and FWD manifolds
-Air to air ebay intercooler
-AEM 50-1200 fuel pump
-Siemens Deka 80# fuel injectors
-Open 3” downpipe (not permanent)
-Custom 3” charge pipes
-Intense mail order E85 tune
-Very ugly but functional upright radiator conversion (the core support was all just rust anyway) 
-Custom space saving AC compressor delete without bypass pulley
-Midwest Chassis bumper support modified to mount my intercooler
-Spec Stage 1 clutch kit
-Firewall plate WITH factory heat. Let me tell you... that was a chore.

That's about it for now!  This car is a riot to drive, and I haven't even been romping on it too hard yet.  It's not properly tuned yet, so I have to take it easy.  Until then I'm not sure what to do about my clutch situation since the upgraded stuff is still slipping at high RPMs.  First, I need to replace the beyond roasted rear main seal so that it stops oiling down the clutch.  Then I need to add a catch can so that it doesn't happen again!  Any RWD GM V6 T5 guys on here have any input? lol

I've been searching for new places to document my progress while also getting good constructive criticism.  I hope you all enjoy!

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
1/29/20 10:49 a.m.

Looks great! Those 3.8/5spd cars are decent to begin with and go straight to awesome with boost.  Kinda surprised about your clutch issues, though. Maybe the oil is the actual root cause. If you're running like 5-7psi you're barely at stock v8 torque and clutches shouldn't be a big hurdle at that level. 

Nice work on the rust repair and intentional weight loss. It looks like you might've about broke even so far with the added turbo weight but the slight weight loss of other components. 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE HalfDork
1/29/20 11:12 a.m.

Yeah, I wonder if your clutch issues are from oil getting onto it from the leak.

This is sweet, and after I nabbed a WC T5 at my local yard for cheap-as I've plotted building something similar. Is your rear diff still open?

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa Reader
1/29/20 11:24 a.m.

Love seeing people boosting things most people wouldn't care about. 

Also, nice work on the grill.

 

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/29/20 11:30 a.m.
Vigo said:

Looks great! Those 3.8/5spd cars are decent to begin with and go straight to awesome with boost.  Kinda surprised about your clutch issues, though. Maybe the oil is the actual root cause. If you're running like 5-7psi you're barely at stock v8 torque and clutches shouldn't be a big hurdle at that level. 

Nice work on the rust repair and intentional weight loss. It looks like you might've about broke even so far with the added turbo weight but the slight weight loss of other components. 

Thank you!  I'm willing to bet for now that the oil is my main issue.  Once the rear main seal started leaking It only got progressively worse.  It's always smoking at stop lights, and it's embarrassing enough to be sitting at a light with a seemingly stock straight piped V6 Camaro. cheeky   I guess I will inspect the damage before buying anything.

I have permanently deleted a few things like the factory bumper, passenger air bag, evaporator and compressor, but the plan is to have a great street car in the end.  The full interior will go back in.  A full rear exit exhaust and subframe connectors are in the future as well.  I still think I will have a lighter car overall though.  The AC compressor and airbag deletes alone should make up for most of it.  I'm also in the process of deleting ABS so that I can put a catch can and line lock in place of the module.  I'm not proud of all these removals of safety items, but I've only done them for significant weight or space savings.  I can't imagine it being much worse than a factory 70s car as long as I keep all my add-ons from becoming projectiles!

 

As for rust... Well, I haven't exactly finished yet.  I still have the worst spot to address. blush  More on that later...

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/29/20 11:35 a.m.
GIRTHQUAKE said:

Yeah, I wonder if your clutch issues are from oil getting onto it from the leak.

This is sweet, and after I nabbed a WC T5 at my local yard for cheap-as I've plotted building something similar. Is your rear diff still open?

Do it!  It's been a lot of fun.  Using OE manifolds made the fab work a breeze.  Yes the diff is still open.  I thought about welding it, but being a stick car that I drive regularly I'd rather wait until I can afford something beefier with LSD.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/29/20 11:36 a.m.
Mr_Asa said:

Love seeing people boosting things most people wouldn't care about. 

Also, nice work on the grill.

 

Haha thank you, pal.  You and me both!

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE HalfDork
1/29/20 11:39 a.m.
V6Buicks said:
GIRTHQUAKE said:

Yeah, I wonder if your clutch issues are from oil getting onto it from the leak.

This is sweet, and after I nabbed a WC T5 at my local yard for cheap-as I've plotted building something similar. Is your rear diff still open?

Do it!  It's been a lot of fun.  Using OE manifolds made the fab work a breeze.  Yes the diff is still open.  I thought about welding it, but being a stick car that I drive regularly I'd rather wait until I can afford something beefier with LSD.

You can find an LSD for these real cheap out of a yard- they're common.

This gonna be great. Love the 'grill'.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/29/20 12:01 p.m.

In reply to GIRTHQUAKE :

Thanks.  I was really hoping that I would have been able to do somthing with an off-the-shelf aftermarket grille but they all have the same issue of blocking the center or being mounted to the center.  I felt making my own was risky, but it turned out much better than I imagined!

If I go for the LSD I'll probably swap the entire rear end.  Mine is so rusty that I'm surprised the cover doesn't leak!  For now, the goal is to just fix what's broken.  That's why I'm still on stock wheels. lol

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/29/20 12:07 p.m.

Here's the ugly part I've been withholding.

I can't weld subframe connectors to a subframe that no longer exists.  I'm not sure how I'm going to tackle it, but I'm not looking forward to it.  The midwest is rough on stuff.

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/29/20 3:03 p.m.

Oh hell yeah! I've gone through this build in my head a couple of times.

I think a V6 Camaro and a Holset turbo would be a good Challenge build recipe.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/29/20 5:31 p.m.

In reply to RacetruckRon :

I think it would as well!  Although mine is not a Challenge build it easily could have been.  I bought all the parts and materials brand new and still have less than $3k in the whole thing.  Used parts would be easy to get and bring the cost down substantially.

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE HalfDork
1/29/20 7:01 p.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

Honestly? Junkyard and a sawsall at that point.

gumby
gumby GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/29/20 8:49 p.m.

Welcome to the board. There are a few of us around Indy.

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
1/29/20 9:22 p.m.

Better late than never! Love the vanity plate 

TIGMOTORSPORTS
TIGMOTORSPORTS Dork
1/29/20 9:28 p.m.

As a GM, Camaro, and 3800 GM V6 Fan - I like it!

Looks like a blast to drive

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/30/20 7:51 a.m.
gumby said:

Welcome to the board. There are a few of us around Indy.

Thank you!  I like the car scene around here.  It seems like there are people cruising around on any given Friday or Saturday summer night.  It's better than the Chicago suburbs I used to live in!

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/30/20 7:52 a.m.
GoLucky said:

Better late than never! Love the vanity plate 

Thanks!  It's kind of ironic really.  The "LAME V6" is the quick car.  My other vanity plate, "QUICK 86" is the disappointing one.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/30/20 7:54 a.m.
TIGMOTORSPORTS said:

As a GM, Camaro, and 3800 GM V6 Fan - I like it!

Looks like a blast to drive

Thank you!  I feel like I found a good place to document it then.  Most of the Buick boards see the 3800 as a "corporate engine" and don't care to hear about it.  The Chevy guys just want to see an LS. lol  Regardless, its a fun car.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/30/20 10:19 a.m.

Did a little work last night.  Maybe it's time to invest in a spot weld removal bit.

I first cut that wierd plastic flap off.  I honestly have no idea what this entire liner thing is for other than rusting out the floor and firewall when your heater core begins to leak.  Maybe it's a sound barrier?  Anyway, I wanted to remove it when I had the dash out, but it actually covers the entire fire wall and wraps around the sides.  I didn't want to go through the trouble of removing all the wire harnesses, so I'll just mangle it instead.  It won't be seen when the carpet is back in the car anyway.  Here's what I'm working with.

 

 

 

 

This actually seems like the better of the two sides now that I can see how solid the lateral brace is.  Fixing this should be fairly simple.  I personally do not enjoy scrounging junkyards though.  I'll probably go way overkill with this and make a frame out of some angle iron.  Then I'll fill the gaps with sheet metal.  It will be way stronger and heavier than it needs to be, but I think it will take less time than trying to salvage the perfect patch even a patch would need some custom bracing anyway.

Somebeach
Somebeach Reader
1/30/20 8:08 p.m.

How does the "mail order tune" work?  Is it some kind of chip? Or a handheld programmer?

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/30/20 8:22 p.m.

In reply to Somebeach :

All I did was call the tuner, told him what I had done to my car, mail him my ECM, and then he sent it back with a roughly estimated tune already in it.  This sort of thing is only intended for lightly modified vehicles. However, since I have added a turbo to an engine that never came with one I'm playing with fire.  My tuner really wants me to come in for a dyno session before I start beating on it, but I don't want to do that until I have more bugs sorted out.  It doesn't pay to tune around mechanical issues.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
1/30/20 8:26 p.m.

I'm having a bad time.

I wish I got a cleaner car, but the price was right!  I'm not too worried.  If all goes according to plan, my new "custom" frame channel should be much stronger than stock.  However, once the subframe connectors are in, there will be no doubt in the car's rigidity.

trumant
trumant New Reader
1/30/20 8:32 p.m.

I wouldn't even know where to begin with those rust problems. I applaud your diving it with a commitment to make it right. Looking forward to seeing the post rust repair shots...sure you are too!

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
2/3/20 11:49 a.m.

In reply to trumant :

Thanks.  This whole project kinda started out as a big "screw it" build.  I didn't want to build my Buick because it was too nice.  However, I was also tired of buying cheap cars to restore that turned out to be too far gone to make nice again.   Therefore, the whole point of this one was to not care too much anymore.  Yes, im dealing with the rust, but it's not going to pretty.  It's just going to work.  The way I see it is that this is the car I've always wanted to build, but not necessarily the car I've always wanted to have. lol  It's going to be fun.

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