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V6Buicks New Reader
3/16/20 11:51 a.m.
crankwalk said:

Rust repair, Brake fluid, PS fluid. If you throw in covered with gear oil that's the worst things about being in to cars. You'll be rewarded for getting all that out of the way.

I'm glad more people are seeing it that way.  The car really was a mess when I got it, but I think I can limp the is body along for a while.  Brakes are all new now, so I can't see that being an issue anymore.  The power steering lines are all new, and the body is... good enough. lol

If I find myself in a situation where I have the money space for a rust free roller I might swap the good stuff over.  Until them, I think I'll be fine with what I have.

maj75 HalfDork
3/16/20 12:10 p.m.

Man, I'm glad I don't live in IN anymore.  I hate rust and it's just criminal to watch cars dissolve like this...

Down here, that car would have still been cheap, just not rusted out!

landstuhltaylor New Reader
3/29/20 12:02 p.m.

It's getting so much harder to find rust-free shells of these things. I had to replace the footwells in my otherwise 100% rot free Alablama roller I bought because of a water leak. Rather than try to find another one to swap to when the time comes, I think I'm just going to pull the powertrain out and stuff it into my RX8 for just that reason. And then cry when I get pennies on the dollar for the ~$25k of non-powertrain parts on it.

V6Buicks New Reader
4/2/20 11:46 a.m.

A lot has happened since the last update, but I'll fill you in as best as I can.  I bought a Spec Stage 4 clutch.  Some people are probably going to think that this is way overkill, but I smoked a Stage 1 in less than 1000 miles of driving.  I'm bringing in the ig guns!  T5, it's time to put your big boy pants on!

Here's what we were dealing with.

Before installing the new stuff I wanted to finish all the body work that I was determined to get done.  For the rest of the time I own this car,  I refuse to do body work ever again.  It's not worth it!


Okay seeing the interior back in flooded me with intense amounts of motivation, so here we go!

I've never been so excited to see a box in my entire life.

ARP does not make bolts that are the correct size for a 3800 flywheel. sad  I had to buy new GM grade 9 bolts.

However, I did find something better for the pressure plate.

Stock had these unflanged bolts with no washers,

They're also pretty short!

Advance sells nice grade 10 stuff.

Much better!

I may have had an illegal gathering....  Then again, auto repair is considered essential work?  I don't know, but me and my buddy installed the transmission last night.

I am so excited to take this thing for a rip.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/2/20 12:12 p.m.

I request sounds clips when it's back together.

V6Buicks New Reader
4/2/20 12:17 p.m.

In reply to Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) :

My Gopro will definitely take the first ride with me! I'll give you a fair warning though.  It's still an all stock 3800 inside.  All vacuum situations just sound like the catalytic converter was stolen off your grandma's LeSabre. lol

V6Buicks New Reader
4/9/20 6:51 a.m.

It's back on the ground, and ready to drive!


I wish I could figure out how to take a good video from inside the car.  I have a suction cup mount and a knock-off go pro but finding a good place to mount the thing that will also record good sound is tough.  So far I have about 250 miles on the new clutch.  I think whenever my tax money comes in I'll buy HP Tuners and really get this thing dialed in.

In reply to V6Buicks :

Excited to see her turned up on HP tuners.

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/9/20 7:37 a.m.

Any plans to take it to a dyno?

V6Buicks New Reader
4/11/20 3:56 p.m.

In reply to artur1808 :

Eventually!  I was initially planning on just taking the car up to ZZP and have them deal with everything, but this quarantine stuff has me thinking that I might as well learn a new skill.  I want to learn how to do my own tuning, but I admit that I'm pretty scared about blowing my junk up.  If it doesn't get canceled there's a Turbo Buick dyno day I'd like to attend in July.  I'm not going to hold my breath though.

V6Buicks New Reader
7/1/20 2:32 p.m.

To make a long story short.  HP Tuners does not support all the functions in a 3800 F-body PCM, and I have nothing but not nice things to say about a couple suppliers....

So I got tired of messing with it and forked over some more money to a dyno tuner I could trust.  I think the results were pretty good for a completely untouched L36 long block.  Valve springs sure would help though.  It's time to finally take a break from the garage, and enjoy the cars for a change.  The tuner seems to think that a cam change, supporting parts, and head studs will get me up to 500 hp, but I'm going to wait a while on that.  This car needs other things before it sees more power. lol


RacetruckRon GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/1/20 3:12 p.m.

I love seeing this thread pop up.  Glad you finally got a decent tune on it so you can enjoy it this summer.

Since the Fbody 3800 PCM is not friendly to this sort of build can you swap a L67 PCM from a GTP for better tuning capabilities? Not trying to incite scope creep to your project, more to feed my own curiosity.

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/1/20 3:41 p.m.

Holy crap, 400 + fl lbs is no slouch. Sorry you don't have as much tuneability as you'd like. Honestly with tire ans suspension, your current power number would be pretty darn fun. 

V6Buicks New Reader
7/2/20 9:19 a.m.

Thanks guys!  No other PCM is interchangeable.  The F-body is a bastard for a couple reasons, but the 99+ is particularly unique because it's a Series 2 with drive by wire.  None of the other cars had that.  What I REALLY wish was that the 411 LS/4.3 computers were swappable so I could do factory flex fuel and higher res MAP tuning.  However, they use a completely different crank trigger among other issues.  At that point I might as well just buy a Holly.  With a couple cuts on the tone ring, a Holly works pretty easily on a 3800.

I have a lot of ideas for this, but the immediate plans are pretty minor.  I have a some savings to recoup, the economy still has my employer cutting hours, and the car is plenty of fun as we see it.  I have some sub-frame connectors that I never installed due to the rust issues though.  Maybe if the weather cools off a little I'll find some time to get under there and start fixing the frame channels.  It's pretty gnarly, and any suspension upgrades I do are going to be silly without first stiffening the chassis anyway.

84FSP UltraDork
7/2/20 9:42 a.m.

Those are good numbers sir!  You will surprise a few folks on the road with that.

ScottyB Reader
7/2/20 5:27 p.m.

love how different this build is, and i had no idea the 3800 in these old F-bodies was actually related to the buick unit.  you've got some legit power out of it so far!

V6Buicks New Reader
7/7/20 1:21 p.m.

In reply to ScottyB : Thanks!  Me too.  I've always wanted something I haven't seen before.  The feeling of seeing it come to life are much more rewarding!

Yep!  The 3800 series 2 and 3 are basically the final generation of the Buick V6.  The successor is the GM Alloytec/High Feature V6s.  I'm very happy that I surpasssed stock 2002 LS1 power, but I think it would be even cooler to start getting competitive with more of the Grand National guys in the 1/4 mile.  I won't hold my breath.  The stick puts me at a big disadvantage, and I really want this car to survive a while.  I'm not super eager to pump out another 100hp yet. lol

Glad you got it sorted! That thing is super cool! 

Glad you got it sorted! That thing is super cool! 

Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/7/20 1:49 p.m.

Love that this build is complete enough to drive.  Can't wait to see what the next installments are.

V6Buicks New Reader
7/8/20 6:27 a.m.

Thanks guys!  More functional and comfortable modifications are on the way.  Now that it's in the 90s and humid every day, deleting the AC feels like a bad idea.  However, it's also been really nice having the ability to change spark plugs and remove the passenger side exhaust manifold from the top.  I should be able to run a full exhaust a lot easier when I get to that too.  All the other cars in the fleet have cold air, so I'll just enjoy those for a while.

V6Buicks New Reader
7/20/20 11:05 a.m.

I decided to treat myself to something I should have bought a long time ago!  So long sloppy dump truck shifter.

At this point, console removal is about a 10 minute affair.

An unexpected satisfaction came from ditching a rusty stamped piece to a shiny billet replacement.  There will be no rust under the dust boot ever again!


It's so nice not needing to worry about bending shift rods anymore!  Now I can shift much quicker and as hard as I want.  By the way, this is not listed as a 4th-gen part.  Pro5.0 only recognizes this as fitting 82-93 cars for some reason.  This part fits like a glove in my '02 T5 without any modifications.  Even the dust boot cutting template was accurate.  The only thing I wouldn't listen to is the stop setting instructions.  If you back them out a full turn then you might as well not have stops at all.  A half turn max is all I would do.  Mine are set without backing them out at all.  This car is much more fun to drive now.

ebelements Reader
7/21/20 9:19 a.m.

I love this thread. So many ups and downs, and what a killer reveal on dyno numbers! 

bonylad GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/21/20 9:22 a.m.

Outstanding build!  

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/21/20 10:22 a.m.

does the clutch manufacturer have a recommended break-in procedure?  friction is friction, whether brake or clutch, so i'm guessing there's probably a burnish / break-in period before full send.  

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