Buick LeSabre '96 Manifold repair parts?

About a year and a half ago there were several threads in this group about the miserable manifold gaskets in the 96 Buicks going out after about 40K. Specific replacement parts and suppliers were recommended.
The threads werent saved, and astraweb, my usenet provider, only goes back a year. So Im back, asking for the information again.
What particular parts are needed to repair the upper intake manifold of a Buick LeSabre 3.8 litre. Anything besides the gasket itself?
And if I recall correctly, the estimated time for a pro is about an hour and a half for the upper only, and the difficulty was said to be medium.
Thanks for any help, Todd
p.s.: howbout the lower manifold any word on how theyre holding up?     I remember reading that theyre quite a bit more difficult and more expensive.     True? How so?     For 30 years I worked a slew of my own VWs only,     so know less than nothing about manifolds
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Depends upon what has happened to your engine. The plenum can be acquired on Ebay or NAPA, and runs a buck $100-250.
Gaskets are separate.
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New upper intake manifold. New coolant bypass tube. New spark plugs and oxygen sensor if they've seen significant exposure to coolant.

The lower manifold itself is fine, it's aluminum and quite sturdy. GMs factory recommended fix was to replace the lower intake manifold which (because it) came with a smaller diameter EGR tube allowing less chance of upper manifold burn through. The Dorman brand upper intake comes with a replacement EGR tube negating the need to replace the entire lower intake manifold.
The lower intake manifold gaskets however are just as prone to failure as they are on any other GM V-6 or V-8 of that era. Fel-Pro recently introduced a problem solver gasket set for the 3800 that uses a steel backbone with rubber overlay; same design as their problem solver gaskets for the 3100, 3400, 4.3, 5.0, 5.7 engines.

Depends on what "they're" is. The 3800 lower intake job is no more difficult than any other intake manifold gasket repair. In some respects it is easier because there is no distributor to deal with.

Assuming a 96 Buick leSabre with VIN K 3.8 liter engine; Dorman upper manifold part # 615-180 Retail*=$200.00 Fel-Pro gasket lower set part # MS98014T Retail*= 144.00 (* I have no idea what you or anyone else gets as a discount)
Get the coolant bypass tube from GM, do NOT use the one from a parts store.
Labor time for the lower gasket replacement is 3.5 hours
No sealant required except for the corners where the block/heads/lower intake manifold meet.
Torque values for the upper manifold are quite low, you'll need an accurate 1/4 inch drive torque wrench of the appropriate range or you'll squash the manifold.
Torque specs come with the gasket set/upper manifold, use these, not the ones from the repair manual.
Do not use any abrasives to clean ANY gasket surfaces (NO 3M Roloc discs)
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Good grief, when I said I knew less than nothing about manifolds, I wasn't kidding. However, EGR was pretty well explained in Wikipedia -- yeah, that ignorant! So what's this about "burn through"?
The lower intake manifold gaskets however are just as prone to failure

Is this since the "aluminum" gasket, as some folks either in this group, or elsewhere, were recommending? …the "new" Fel-pro, grey and teal in color, as someone mentioned, as opposed to the old orange one?

…as compared to the upper manifold gasket -- the amount of dodads one must loosen, remove, and how hard they are to get to and all.

Living here in rural NC, 60 some odd miles from Raleigh, with nothing but minimal national DIY parts stores around here, the parts will have to be bought on line -- never had to go this route before. There is a Buick dealership about 20 miles from here, but have been warned away from GM parts for this job. (please look at a couple examples at the bottom of this posting to see the results of searching for about an hour)

understood
roger
These are from Google searches for the parts you recommend. I take it that the prices you cite are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail prices -- not real world prices -- or are the following suppliers sham artists? The results:
from rocketauto:
DORMAN Part # 615180 {OE Solutions; Includes All Gaskets and Seals as Required #89017272} Includes All Gaskets and Seals as Required; Upper; Designed specifically to work with Dorman OE Solutions Intake Manifold Gaskets only. $88.79 http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1019696,parttype,5536,a,www.google.com%2BSearch%2Bfor%2BEngine%2BIntake%2BManifold%2BGasket%2BFEL-PRO ________________________________________________________ FEL-PRO
Part # MS98014T {Intake Manifold Gasket Set} 1st Design; w/Rubber end seals w/o Locating pins; Lower set; PermaDryPlus® int. manifold gskts. incl.     $60.79     ________________________________________________________ DORMAN Part # 615180G {OE Solutions} Designed specifically to work with Dorman OE Solutions Intake Manifolds only. Not for replacement of OEM gaskets. (Only 2 Remaining) $30.79 ________________________________________________________ EBAY: Dorman 615-180 GM Intake Manifold 3.8L Series II V-6 (new- from out of business parts store, so the man says) $50 + $12.50 shipping ________________________________________________________ streetsideauto.com INTAKE MANIFOLD GM 3.8; 615180    StreetSide Price: $98.87     this says it’s for an Olds
I really appreciate your help so far, greatly exceeding any expectations. Thank you, aarcuda and "his" as well
Todd
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You asked about repairing the upper intake manifold. The common mode of failure is burn through where the EGR tube which is part of the lower intake manifold passes into the upper intake manifold. Heat from the EGR tube causes the plastic upper manifold to soften eventually resulting in a coolant leak where coolant is ingested into the intake tract of the engine.

I don't know. I gave you the part number for the latest greatest problem solver gasket from Fel-Pro. That's what I advise using.

Sounds like the standard replacement gasket, don't use them.

Yes, there is more work and more to remove, nothing is all that terrible to access.

I posted retail prices. The prices you fund are at or close to jobber prices. Rock Auto is a very reputable supplier, just be careful that you're getting current product because Dorman has constantly added to the package and made quality and/or engineering improvements WRT the replacement upper manifold. I definitely would NOT buy anything on close-out or from a belly up parts store.
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The manifold was purchased from Amazon and the lower gasket from Rock Auto, according to the precise parts numbers you gave me. The coolant bypass tube will be purchased from a Buick dealership. While demonstrating the gasket leakage to a backyard-mechanic friend of mine, pouring a gallon bottle of water directly into the radiator, instead of the minimal seepage I was expecting, the water gushed out as fast as it was poured, from somewhere under the manifold. There's some sort of pan on underside, onto which it fell -- will be putting it up on a rack at the local service station. My friend assured me it's OK to drive it dry for the half mile distance -- that the car won't overheat.
Thanks again for all your help.
Todd
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