3800 RWD Questions

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I am still toying with the idea of putting a 3800 engine into my Mercedes 230 CE and want to learn more about it.
What is the weight with the four speed auto transmission?
Which side is the starter on? (Steering box clearance)
Besides Camaro and Firebird, which cars used the 3800 in RWD?
Thanks
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I'm not sure but the Pontiac Bonneville comes to mind and also Buick Century. I don't think the tranny weight should be of any concern, it can't weigh that much I can lift one by myself (maybe 200#). If you never did this before you have a lot of work cut out for you. Not saying it can't be done, you just run into one road block after another. I've seen a 440 in a K car once, I've made a couple of change overs myself. Some are fairly easy some are not.

-
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Scott, why don't you use the 4.3 v-6. They have proved their longevity quite similar to 3800; already a RWD; plenty of overdrive 700R4 trannies which will shift w/o need of a computer; plenty of aftermarket hop-ups available; fuel mileage is good (but not quite up to 3800 using its computers & computer-aided design for total pkgs., like an entire LeSbre, ParkAve., Riviera). I have an 86 S10 Blazer with 95 LT1 v-8 and trans--a nice install and great performance. Also have an 03 S10 pickup w/4.3 Vortec, all stock. The pkp will smoke the tires "off the line" and quickly made me change my mind about doing a similar-to-Blazer v8 swap. There just isn't that much to be gained. Pkp does about 24-26 mpg on a straight interstate run. I'm sure a stock 4.3 w/700R4 will deliver decent fuel mileage in your Mercedes. And if you want more power--dunno what for--there are many performance mods you can purchase off the shelf. You could even put, say a 4.1:1 rear end in it, and with that R-4's 70% overdrive, cut it down to 2.88:1 for the road(4.11 X 0.70=2.88, rounded.) This eliminates need for a computer to control any fuel injection(assuming you use an aftermarket intake and carb) or to control the trans-shifting. A simple-to-install kit makes that 700R4 shift from vacuum and go into lockup mode--cannot do this with the 4L60E, tho'. Good luck to you. Let us all know how your swap goes, whatever you use. s
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Two reasons really, I am more familiar with the 3800. I am thinking, but do not know, that the 3800 has a smaller block and weighs less than the 4.3.
Let me know if I am misinformed.

The
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Scott, you're right about the weight--3800 weighs 392# and the 4.3 weighs 425#. And I can understand your preferences. I agree, I'd love to have a nice transplanted 3800 AND supercharger in like an s10 or even mid-60's pickup. I feel like that's one of GM's finest--so powerful plus above 30mpg on the LeSabres and even Park Ave's. I'm feel we would be hard-pressed to even approach such economy with a transplant. But the electronics plus virtual virgin territory with the fwd-to-rwd would be more than I, personally, could handle. And, while the 4.3 is just a 5.7 with 2 cylinders cut off(same bore and stroke, even), I'd be right at home with that, using an intake and carb. and HEI ignition--just run one hot wire to the dist cap! Again, please let us know if you get it done. Who knows, after you get it all figured out and working, many of us want pics and info to do copycat swaps! Later.....sdlomi2
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They used the 3800 in some Firebirds and Cameros which are rear wheel drive so getting the RWD arrangement is not an issue. A local yard will sell me "everything that you need" for $1200 wiring harness, radiator, transmission, computer and exhaust. The engine has 160,000 miles on it.
The electrical should not be too bad unless I have to completely fab a harness.
The das gages may be a hassle.
I'll keep you posted.

trannies
LeSbre,
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Transferring the computer controls are easy:
The only issue I see is, would be the dash gauges. But, magic can be worked.
Good Luck!
RK

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drive
Geeze - I guess they would. $1200 for a setup with that many miles? They ought to be paying you to take it off their hands. Keep shopping. That's robbery.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
  Click to see the full signature.
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says...

Get the schematics and a big ass dry erase board and goto town figuring out what you can tie into. Keep in mind a FWD 3800 supercharged ECM wont know what a RWD 5-speed Manual is if thats what you intend on using. The FWD auto transaxles and RWD auto transmissions would be "4T65e" vs a "4L60e". Off the top of my head I'm not sure if the electronics are the same or not between those.
Around here I could buy a complete late model F-body car with a 3800 for less than $2000 at a repo auction (with about 100k miles). I'd hate to gut one that isn't wrecked though. I always wanted to take a 3800 f-body car and blend it with a 1956 Thunderbird replicar. Very simular wheel base dimensions between them.
BTW what year is your Mercedes 230 CE?
Wiki has some good info on Buicks v6 here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_V6_engine
And here are some RWD kitcars with Supercharged 3800's. http://www.angelfire.com/biz6/stalkerv6/kitcar.html http://www.bruntonauto.com/Builders/builder.htm
They may have knowledge on wiring Supercharged 3800's together with manual & auto transmissions. And as you can see the intake does run into the cowl...
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1985. Four speed manual transmission. No A/C. No cruse. Cloth seats.
Do you know about these cars?

drive
me
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Scott Buchanan wrote:

I would say that its just an all-around better engine. Not that there's anything dreadful about the 4.3, but the 3800 is better in the same way a Buick 350 was better than a Chevy 350. Bottom end reliability, cylinder geometry, rod ratio, valvetrain stability. All better.
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Steve wrote:

Sorry, I'd take a chevy small block over a Buick 350 anyday for reliability. The Buick 3.8 v-6 in it's early days wasn't that great of a motor either! I've worked on all of these engines in their time......buick engines weren't that great.
Now an Olds 350....that was a great engine.
Ian
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Another Olds-man! Only weak point was the pot-metal rocker pivots, which were cheap to replace and later perfected with steel pivots. You and I along with GM agree this is possibly their best v8--after all which engine did they try to convert to diesel? And which did they use on the first hi-dollar Seville(77, 78, & 79) with fuel injection? Must've been a reason, huh? The Buick 350's would get to operating temp and 10-w-30 oil would lose its viscosity and cause lifters to start clicking and oil light would come on--cam bearings? rods? mains? excess clearance/wear? And even Pontiac 301, 350, and 400's would do likewise. Switching to Castrol 20-w-50 or straight 30 or 40 weight would sometimes help. Olds 350 never did that, as valve train and bottom ends held such close tolerances and would go 200k miles with virtually zero wear on crank. I also experienced similar minimal wear on the Chev 350. My experience was that only abused Chev engines seemed to give problems as they too would go 200k miles with approx. zero wear on crank and would do it on 10-w-30 oil. I'd say my idea of a nearly perfect v-8 engine would be that Olds 350 with fuel injection and with steel rocker pivots. All these are my personal opinions based on experience with approx. 275 cars per year for a # of years during 68-85 (68-79 model cars)--mostly consisting of the entire GM gamut. BTW: my next door neighbor swears by Studebaker v-8--and that's ok with me. Opinions do differ and I respect that! s
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sdlomi2 wrote: "The Buick 350's would get to operating temp and 10-w-30 oil would lose its viscosity and cause lifters to start clicking and oil light would come on--cam bearings? rods? mains? excess clearance/wear...?" **************************************** I think the oil pump configuration on those Buicks was prone to wear as the housing was aluminum and the bore in which the gears rotated would become enlarged after awhile, causing the oil light to come on, etc. as you mentioned. And at least in the case of the big block Buicks, the replacment front timing cover (which housed the oil pump) became unavailable in later years. You could replace the gears and relief spring pretty easily though, which would actually help some, but people didn't often do that but rather just decided their engine must have too much bearing clearance and hence lower oil pressure due to that. Kenne-Bell was where I got my pump kit with oversized gears and an external, adjustable regulator. I always thought there was quite a bit a guy could do with the oiling on my '67 GS400 without having to take the pan off -- when the oiling became weak I was able to increase the pressure quite a bit by spending about a half hour changing the pump, relief spring, and regulator. Well worth the money and easy.
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shiden_kai wrote:

I won't argue that point too much, although I've seen a few Buick 350s survive abuse that would kill a Chevy 350. Design-wise, what I like about the Buick is the long conrods and the resulting rod ratio. And from a hipo perspective the 455 is very oversquare, unlike the Olds 455 which is undersquare as suits a land-yacht or truck engine. I do know that the Buick 455 needed help with overall lower block strength (responds REAL well to a crank girdle) so I can see that weakness manifesting itself in other ways too.

Yep. Really the same block (without the raised deck) as the Olds 455. Can you imagine how good big GMC pickups and dump trucks of the 70s and 80s would have been with an Olds 455 instead of the POS Chevy 454???
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Steve wrote:

When the 350 olds diesels were popping left, right, and center.....we offered to install rebuilt 350 gas engines in the trucks if the customer was tired of dealing with the Olds diesels. This was a nice swap, as the engine fit right into place, all the brackets and accessories bolted right up, the only items we had to fab up were some throttle cable and TV cable stuff. We usually got complete 350 gas engines from the wreckers with carb, dist...etc and then just overhauled them.
And yes, I was never a fan of the big block chevy. In the 80's, we were always dealing with scuffed pistons and broken exhaust bolts, warped manifolds...etc.
Ian
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says...

Still true with the 3800. The 3800 block is built like a freak'n tank. Its like the bean counters never got around to thinning out the casting. 2 bolt main SBC's aren't nearly as tough thats for sure. As for the 60 degree engines (2.8 3.1 etc etc) they look like they were totally designed by bean counters...
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Scott Buchanan wrote:

Not sure, but you can be pretty sure that it doesn't weigh more than a Mercedes driveline!

80s GM rear-drive coupes like the Regal, which would have used a TH200R4 I think.
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I can only answer this one. The answer is none after 1986 (with the modern 3800) Don't listen to people who say there are some. In the 1980's, GM rear-drive cars with the Buick V6 were very common, but that was the earlier version; all except the "Grand National" Turbo were carbureted if I remember correctly.
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I can answer this one. The answer is none after 1986. Don't listen to people who say there are some. GM does have a rear drive V6 car right now (the CTS) and that might yield something, but they just didn't make rear drive V6 cars in the 90's, and they don't use the 3800 in a truck.
In the 1980's, GM rear-drive cars with the Buick V6 were very common, but that was the earlier version; all except the "Grand National" Turbo were carbureted if I remember correctly.
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