As long as they are the same engine groups/family, with the same
displacement, and emmissions standards, that is illegal. Thankfully you can
update a erly Gen 2 3.8 V6 to the latest Gen 2 stuff with out going
further then the long block.
The long blocks are exactly the same from a say 89 Gen 2 to a 97 Gen 2.
The engine should not be a problem, as long as both are either Gen 1 or
Gen 2 FWD 3.8's. The transmission might not interchange, due to different
mounts and electronics features. Your best bet is to viset a salvage yard
and see if their Hollander Interchage boooks say they can be swaped.
On the engines, if they are the same gen, you just need the computer,
emissions, intake (compleate), and such off the later year engine.
Physically the entire power train will drop into the front cradle of
a '92 "W" body using the "W" body mounts, accessories, etc. - - - BUT,
having said that, I would not do the swap.
The 1988 3.8L is not a Series I engine - it is kinda a transistion
engine between the older 3.8 and the 3800 Series 1. Think of the
1988-1991 motor as a 1987 "C" code engine with a balance shaft. As
that old joke goes, it is neither fish nor foul. Actually a good motor
(as are the 86-87 roller cam 3.8s) but enough different that swapping
them into newer bodies gets weird (hey, even swapping an '88 engine in
an '87 body causes ECM problems, primarily with the Mass Flow Air
Sensor system and the digital EGR).
Back to swapping the '88 engine into the '92 body: first, engine ECM
electronics are not compatible between the '88 engine and the '92
body. Second, the ECM for that car also operates the transaxle
(4T60E): the only "electronics" in the '88 440T4 is the lockup torque
converter, so we've got that issue of compatibility.
Don't know what state you are in, but in CA that swap would be
illegal UNLESS the car can meet 1992 emission specs (CA law is you
have to meet the specs for the body year or engine year, whichever is
Your best shot for that Regal is to find a 92-95 3800 out of any of
the "W" body cars (Regal, Grand Prix, Cutlass) and go that way, BUT if
you can't find a 1992 engine, be sure you get the ECM assembly (or be
prepared to move all the sensors, etc. from the old engine to the new
one). Avoid any 3800 1996 and newer: they are OBDII cars and again,
Sacramento, CA USA
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.