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V6Buicks Reader
6/20/23 1:21 p.m.

In reply to GCrites :

Lol!  Even my actual plan is kinda silly if I think about too long.  Pulling a strong engine out of my rust-free car to use it in my rotted pile is a little odd.

In fact, I am not totally sold on using this rotted pile anymore.  I plan to replace the core support and cut/patch a lot of nasty areas before I bolt everything back in, but that's going to wait until I sell something else.  If I find a good deal on a decent  black SS or Z28 roller, I'll probably make the switch.  If not, I'm still okay with extending the life of this car a while longer too.

V6Buicks Reader
6/20/23 3:46 p.m.

I forgot to show the part where I unwrap the manifolds and find that my ugly welds actually held.

I will blame this on heat and a lack of support for the turbo.  It hangs way out there with no brackets whatsoever.  This wasn't all though.

The crossover flex section broke off with no effort.  I get do do all kinds of repairs now.

V6Buicks Reader
6/21/23 8:57 a.m.

I know I just got this thing running, but it's time to pull it all apart.  It's for the best anyway.  There wasn't a tight bolt anywhere fromt he intake up!  Plus, there was this.

It seems like the fancy custom stainless PCV line and aluminum adapter wasn't a great idea after all.  I'll need to educate myself on how this system is supposed to work from the factory, but my guess is that the custom nipple is much too close to the throttle blade and and the 3.5" blower pulley is only increasing the vacuum on the crank case.  As cool as it looks, this system needs to go in favor a of a tried and true catch can set-up.

V6Buicks Reader
6/23/23 12:09 p.m.

I knew that the 10 bolt was going to be as good as good as lunch meat whenever the cammed engine was ready to rock.  I just didn't think I would have any plans in motion to fix that so soon. 

I found this already converted Ford 8.8 housing on marketplace for $300.  Its tubes are factory Mustang (94-98) length which makes it bit narrower than the Camaro, but I'll be happy to open up cooler wheel choices and use off-the-shelf axles.  This will be a nice upgrade and save a lot of money over a Hawks unit.  I'll run an adapter/spacer for my current wheels until I come up with something better.

V6Buicks Reader
6/27/23 8:03 a.m.

I wouldn't have bought the Comp G if I could have predicted this massive score in side #3.

This is my 4th attempt at getting a buildable SC bottom end and my 4th failure.  I'm not sure where I'm going to go from here.  I really wanted a stock bottom end, but good ones apparently aren't easy to come by.  I could have mine machined and built up for an insane amount of money once I part this car out or slap it back together.  I could also part both cars out, be rid of this mess and focus on my Grand National.

I'm for sure going to wait before making any bad decisions, but this endeavor has been a very disheartening experience.

Opti SuperDork
6/30/23 11:39 p.m.

Is that score not fixable? If the other bores are in service limits, why not a sleeve and slap some new bearings in it?

If youve got others laying around, what aboit a good block married to the guys of the one you just picked up.

Or ignore the scoring and run it?

bumpsteer Reader
7/1/23 3:43 a.m.

I vote ignore and run, or maximum dingleball. What could go wrong that hasn't already happened at this point? 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/1/23 1:20 p.m.

Did the supercharged engines even have different blocks from the base 3800s?


Sleeving is really expensive, to do it right you have to either bore or sleeve the adjacent cylinders, as well as deck and line hone the block.  Iron is pretty springy and stretchy and flexible and it doesn't accept having a piece of steel pressed into a bore without heavy distortion.


I mean, yeah, some people get away with just a big counterbore, press a sleeve in, cut the top flush and hone to size....  and the engine with the Grand Canyon in the bore was also presumably running.


Repair sleeves are a different animal from blocks designed around replaceable liners that slip in or at most have a light press fit.  A repair sleeve requires an enormous amount of force to press in and is fairly "traumatic" for the block.  Not financially sound if you can get a replacement block at almost any junkyard for a couple hundred bucks.

Opti SuperDork
7/1/23 9:37 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I assumed based on what he said he couldnt easily get a good block at the local junkyard. I also assumed, probably incorrectly, that he didnt have massive hp goals for this engine, since it seems he wants to use stock pistons, otherwise the easy button is an overbore and a set of pistons.

Ive put together and pulled apart motors, that conventional knowledge says shouldnt run or run well or last and they did. I know of a 3V running around built from 3 different motors that had been disassembled years apart with no machine work, and mismatched rods, caps and mains. Only new parts was a couple gaskets and chains. Its making 450whp and has been for 4 years.

You can do it right, or if you cant, you can just do it.

obsolete GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/2/23 12:21 a.m.
Opti said:

You can do it right, or if you cant, you can just do it.

GRM words to live by.

V6Buicks Reader
7/7/23 9:47 a.m.

Thanks for the input everyone.  Sleeving a 3800 would be a big waste of money since there are millions of these blocks and they're all pretty worthless.  A machine shop could probably bore this to about the maximum service limit and get that groove out of there, but there's really no point in that either unless I really wanted to push the limits of the 3800.

These aren't constructed like an SBC and slapping a bearing set into one of these engines is very ill-advised.  The tolerances are very tight which means an align hone is inevitable if you're servicing the whole engine.  I considered buying H-beams and forged pistons, but I need to be completely honest with myself about this.  I don't have the funding, skills, or resources to build or even drive a car that will require those parts or expensive machining.  An SBE is the 100% the way to go if you're building a 3800 under 700hp.

The blocks and cranks of all 3800 Series 2 and 3 NA and SC are all identical.  The differences are in the rods and pistons.  The SC has a deeper dish in the piston for lower compression and the rings are a bit further down the skirt to prevent chipping.  There is no difference in pistons between Series 2 and 3.  It's a toss up on which rods are stronger.  The S2 SC (L67) has a stronger metallurgy but weaker shape than the S3 SC (L32).  Most seem to think that the L32 rods are stronger, but there really isn't any relevant data to back this up.  The S2 and S3 NAs (L36 and L26) are the same way.  GM went with a cheaper but stronger shaped rod for the S3, but neither are stronger than the SC versions.  Pistons are the same and more prone to chipping than the SC pistons.  These are externally balanced engines so in theory you can put SC rods and pistons on and NA crank as long as you have the SC balancer and flex plate.  Even without them, the balance difference is small enough that it will run just fine.  However, none of the 3800 parts are forged.  If you get good forged rods and pistons and slap them on the stock crank and block you'll be ready to make 1000hp.  As mentioned though, that's all too rich for my blood.

SO!!  After a lot of thinking, I made a tough decision.  I wanted this L32 so that I would have a known healthy engine that gives me a lot of room to grow.  However, a healthy engine is not what I received, so forcing the situation by spending a bunch of money on machine work didn't make sense to me.  The plan is to finish yanking the L32 from the Grand Prix, popping that piston out, honing the cylinder, sticking new rings in there, and crossing my fingers.  GRM style?  That iffy engine is going back in the Grand Prix with the blower and water to air set-up.  As for the Camaro, the engine is out and looks great.  That being said, it is the ONLY good 3800 I've ever had on an engine stand.  Despite the weaker rods and pistons, I am going to throw the upgraded heads and cam at the Camaro's L36.  Also GRM style? After all, I am running a turbo with an air to air intercooler and E85, so detonation with a solid tune is very unlikely.  My 600hp goal is very attainable on a stock NA bottom end.

Her goes nothing.  Timing set is ready to come off.

The new double roller timing set requires the balance shaft to be deleted because the gears are in the way.  The sloppy way to do it, is to just remove the gears and leave the shaft in the block, but that's silly in my case.  The engine is out, and I have plenty of tools to ensure that oil isn't going places that it doesn't need to be. 

Jammed a rag int he gears and drove the bolt off.

Now I'm left with this scene.  There's a snap ring that holds the roller bearing into the block.  It's a massive pain to remove, but I can mangle it since it's not going back in!

I'm still unsure how the front roller bearing gets oiled since there are no visible passages, but the rear basically has a cam bearing that's grooved on the block side.  No matter how it's rotated in the block, the balance shaft will get oil.  That needs to go too.  For some reason I started salivating when the Mac Tool Truck guy showed me this cam bearing tool.  I bought it five years ago and this was it's first time seeing the light! lol

It worked like a charm.

At this point I was a little mad at myself because I realized that I forgot to buy parts.  Somebody long ago discovered that a smooth bearing of the same outer diameter as the 3800 balance shaft bearing is used for Mopar 440 cams.  I bought a set of those and will drive one in with the oiling hole rotated 180 degrees.  For now, I'm moving on.  Cam time!

The next roadblock made me a little upset too.  I bought these modified lifters a while back only to find that the rollers do not roll smooth and some of the oiling holes are full of metal. angry I emailed the supplier with my concerns and they told me to send them back so they can send me a new set.  I sent them back, but I'm probably not using those either.  I ended up buying Genuine Chevy Performance LS7 lifters for about 5x the cost.  It'll be worth it for the piece of mind though.

V6Buicks Reader
7/7/23 10:20 a.m.

At that point, I was kind of stuck in the mud.  I was really hoping to get the engine mostly assembled so that I could wheel it and a bunch of parts out of my way, but the show must go on even as I wait for parts.  I wanted to get the tubular K-member out of my way by loosely installing it in the car, but there was nothing loose about it.

There was about a 1/8" difference between the factory and aftermarket dowels that would not allow this thing to go home.  The aftermarket dowels are also blunt where the factory dowels were coned in order to guide everything in place.  It looks like I may have to get the grinder and make these the same way because ratchet strapping the frame together and muscling the k-member into place is not going to be an option when there's an engine resting on it!

Then I did a test fit of the engine mounts on the pads.  Waddya know!  Those don't fit right either.  I'm a lot less happy about this.  It's going to take some serious man power to find out which combination of mount positions is correct for the engine brackets to just slip in to place.  Then I still have to elongate a hole somewhere and check it again.

This project just got really frustrating.  I hate spending a good money on parts only for them to be built like trash.

Then there's the Grand Prix again...

We got the engine removed from it's greasy pit, and trucked it over to my house.  The oil pan contents were pretty shiny.  I'm hoping this is mostly cylinder wall and ring contents and less bearing material.  I'll be pulling all the rod caps for a wellness check.  I should be able to slap new rod bearings in it and send it down the road if need be.

V6Buicks Reader
7/11/23 8:35 a.m.

Remember those really crusty looking upper control arm brackets?

Yeah, those!

Since I now have a blast cabinet I was planning on saving these.  I started chipping off all the loose scales, performed maintenance on the machine, and got part-way through blasting them.  My compressor is much too small to be media blasting so it needs time to catch up and cool off otherwise I would have finished them.  Anyway, it was during a cool down period that I scrolled across a facebook group for F-body auto-xers and decided to give it a join.  I almost immediately learned about a product which I didn't know existed.  Upper control arm relocation brackets are considered a requirement for any lowered F-body.  Oops.  I guess these rusty hunks of junk aren't worth my time after all!  There goes a night.

I'm not sure if it's worth just trying to finish blasting, painting, and at least selling them for a few bucks, but I know I'm not putting them on the car now.  $$$

Opti SuperDork
7/11/23 8:49 a.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

FYI I just parted out a 95 Z28, its mostly stripped now, but if there is anything you need that I could ship or you could pick up, let me know. Im about to scrap the rest of the car, Ive already made my money, and I wouldnt mind helping out a GRMer

singleslammer PowerDork
7/11/23 10:13 a.m.

This is such a neat project. That sucks that you can't seem to win on 3800 blocks.

V6Buicks Reader
7/12/23 8:00 a.m.
Opti said:

In reply to V6Buicks :

FYI I just parted out a 95 Z28, its mostly stripped now, but if there is anything you need that I could ship or you could pick up, let me know. Im about to scrap the rest of the car, Ive already made my money, and I wouldnt mind helping out a GRMer

Thank you!  Are you willing to cut a small section out of the floor?  I have a driveshaft loop that I can't bolt in because I don't have the original bracket on the passenger side.  I replaced the floors , so my car is no longer the same. lol

Opti SuperDork
7/12/23 8:36 a.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

Yah I can do that. Its a convertible, if that matters. Shoot me a PM.

V6Buicks Reader
7/12/23 8:43 a.m.

In reply to singleslammer :

Thank you!  and tell me about it.

I got a couple things done last night.  After letting a set of Mopar 440 cam bearings freeze for a while, I took them to the 3800.  Slamming the small one into the rear balance shaft bore with its oiling hole rotated 180 degrees makes a nice plug.  It took me two tried to realize that I was doing it wrong though.

Awfully tight!

It was later pointed out to me that this wouldn't have happened if I installed it through the back of the engine because that's where the bore is chamfered.  Oops.  I'm just going to test it with air pressure.  If I don't have any leaks at 100 psi, then I say shes good to go.

After that, I was ready to test fit my Rollmaster double row timing set.  These, have been made incorrectly since inception and the supplier insists that it's fine.  You just have to replace your oil pump cover with a thinner one and use a special extra thick timing cover gasket.  I'm personally not down with that.  The real problem is that the crank snout has a rolled edge and the Rollmaster crank gear is not chamfered to accept that like the factory gear.  I decided to send mine to a guy who does this modification as a service to the community.

It fits nice and tight against the block now!

I'll have to pull it back off to clean everything, but I'm glad the chain doesn't have a bunch of slack or anything like that. The rubber band used for packaging disintegrated and kind of melted, so the chain is going to need some attention.

V6Buicks Reader
8/8/23 10:50 a.m.

I don't have a lot to say about the Camaro right now, but I do want to thank Opti for the donation of a driveshaft loop mount!  Once this dang Grand Prix is out of my hair, Camaro progress will commence.  Not only is the Grand Prix my main focus at the moment, but I also don't have room to do much else until the engine is out of my garage!

The Camaro engine got a thick coat of paint before coming off the stand.

The timing cover is just lightly bolted into place for now because I can't torque the cam bolt without a flywheel.  I also need a holding tool.  luckily I hoard V6 stuff, so I cut up an L67 flex plate I had sitting around.  This will get welded to a bracket that bolts to the block.

I also ordered a really cool interface that will convert my very current limited DIS ignition over to LS CNPs.  My plug gap at 10psi of boost is only .025".  I've tried larger gaps and different plugs, but everything makes it break up.  Since I will be modifying my engine wiring harness anyway, I figure now is the time to make this kind of upgrade.  I will still be using the ICM as a brain, but the interface will allow for individual coils with sequential fire, and the coils will have their own internal drivers.  In other words, I should not have to worry about burning up coil drivers in expensive ICMs ever again.  The best part is that it's only $80.  This car dodges expensive Holley systems like the plague.

The Grand Prix is going back together, but I will talk more about that another time.

V6Buicks Reader
8/22/23 10:57 a.m.

I've been about as motivated to work on this Comp G as I am walking into work on a Monday morning since finding that nasty score in the cylinder wall.  However, it's the fact that I can't really work on anything else until this thing is done that keeps me going.

Eventually, the Camaro's L36 got put on the floor, and the Comp G's L32 was put on the stand.  I pulled the #3 piston and went HAM on that cylinder with a hone.  Unfortunately, the score was just too dang deep to really do a number on it.  I didn't want to hone the wall too long and end up with a bad ring seal.  Here's where I stopped.

Pulling the oil pan revealed some more ugly secrets.  I'm gonna pretend like I didn't see all this metallic sludge....

I'm also going to pretend like this is fine.


I ran out of RTV, so the pan is partially gasketed with anaerobic sealer.  Like I said, motivation is low. lol

Here's a little bit more of a positive discovery.  There's a pretty clear imprint of bolt threads in the combustion chamber of the offending cylinder.  Knowing that the previous owner of this car never had the heads off, it must have been one of the owners before him who removed the bolt.  At least I know this engine ran really well for a long time even in it's hurt state.  There's a chance, my repair will be good enough!

Threw them back on with new gaskets but the same TTY bolts.  We're on a budget mission.

I will leave the LS6 springs, but I am not going to to sell the car with these modified stock rocker arms and hardened push rods.  ZZP used to weld and re-drill stock rockers to increase the lift ratio.  Stock is 1.6:1.  These are 1.9:1.  You can tell by the new oiling hole drilled closer to the fulcrum.

The pedestals arfe also ground to fit the repositioned pushrods.

I had some stock rockers, pedestals, and push rods I could put in their place.

Another piece I couldn't throw back on was this really nice CNC ported intake manifold.  I had a DIY ported manifold I got for free in the basement, so I threw some paint on it, and kept the CNC piece to include with the intercooler kit.

Paint almost makes this intake look nice!  I had a set of lightly used metal intake gaskets to throw on with an RTV china wall.  Budget is staying in tact!

V6Buicks Reader
8/22/23 11:21 a.m.

I actually had a lightly used metal supercharger gasket to throw on, but failed to remember that it won't match the intake porting.  I threw that one away, bought a new softer gasket, and cut it to size.

I was able to find all the stock length supercharger bolts in a box with the car which is a relief becasue the intercooler is not going back on!

That being said, the throttle turn down adapter is no longer needed.  I decided that I would really like this billet oil cap which a different sticker on it, so I'll throw a stock cap on from my stash.

I sold the stainless log manifold pretty quickly, and located a set of stock manifolds for $20.  The rear manifold I pulled off had a stainless bolt broken off in it, so I was happy to replace that one too.  Paint time.

To clear the belt for the raised supercharger, the ICM needs to get out of the way.  The PO did this with threaded standoffs.

As much as I say I don't care about this car anymore, I can't have an engine down to the short block and leave it full of grime.  It's cleaning time.

That was so worth it.  Very satisfying!  The ICM harness got reloomed a bit too, and looks much better.

I'm shocked that this went so well.  I was happy to get the new manifold, but it didn't have studs.  I had to extract the old ones.  I can't believe they came out in one piece to live another day.

EGR plug

With the accessory brackets installed and the alternator back in its stock location, I think it's ready to drop in!

V6Buicks Reader
8/22/23 11:58 a.m.

At some point during all that engine work I stopped by my buddies to retrieve the intercooler parts.  I was initially planning to sell the car with the intercooler installed, but later figured that I wasn't going to get anything good from the car if I didn't try to sell them separately.  It was a big step That I was nervous to take though.  I had no idea if I had enough stock parts to put it back together that way!

I thought this bumper would be pretty easy to remove since it was already off once.  NOPE!

That's a nice pump bracket!

The original air box is was held the ECM, so the previous owner built this slick aluminum bracket when he built the CAI. Since I don't have the stock air box, this part is going to stay on the car.  I will build a new intake with stuff I have sitting around.  Also yes, the engine bay is getting pressure washed!

The money shot!

Fast forward to last week.  The engine was hauled over to my buddy's house where it would be reunited with the car.  I'm glad I get to do it in the garage this time, but the process started off about as terribly as it began.  The park brake was locked up which initially made pushing the car a challenge.  After some tugging on the cable and pounding on brake parts, the wheels were free again.

After all the cussing at the bumper, it had to come off again because the crane wasn't long enough.

It's not a particularly easy engine to work around either.  A lot of stuff wants to get in the way, but it's all doable.

One of the other things I did to the car was remove all the gauges.  I'm selling the scan gauges, but keeping the wide band to tune my Grand National.  Lucky for me, the O2 threads are the same as my Volvo C30s drain plug!  I replaced the drain plug with a magnetic one, so the old plug is now in place of the Pontiac sensor.  I love hoarding.

This car was a disaster and still kind of is.  I do think I'm leaving it in a better state than I found it though.  Mice were unkind to this in terms of pooping all over it and turning my wires into lunch.  The car didn't have working ABS or traction control when I found it, and I'm not about to try fixing it either.  This right here is all I need to be really excited!


Yes, I still need to install the bumper, make the PCV more presentable, replace/tighten and a few fasteners, and some other things.  However this will all be gravy compared to what I've already been through!  There's finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

Opti SuperDork
8/22/23 12:02 p.m.

That came out awesome, bet it runs great


AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/22/23 12:03 p.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

i heart hoarding should be on a t-shirt

V6Buicks Reader
8/23/23 7:53 a.m.

In reply to Opti :

Thanks!  I buttoned the car up the rest of the way last night, and let it it run a little bit.  I even took it for a little drive in the yard because I wanted to give my buddy's garage back.

I love how great this engine bay looks for being totally slapped together with almost all stuff I had laying around.  My favorite part is the PCV line made out of a brake booster hose.  It works!

The car was smoking a lot, but it's possible that I'm cleaning the the insides free of dust and oil or breaking the rings into the freshly honed cylinder.  I'm trying not to panic.  The paint on the manifolds still have to cure too.

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