3800 Series III

Heres an artical I found sometime ago that I thought was really good. I forget where I got it from so I cant give credit but here it is.
3800 Series III Supercharged 3.8L V-6 (L32)
2004 Model Year Summary
·    New RPO for Pontiac Grand Prix ·    Eaton Gen V Supercharger ·    Returnless Fuel Injection ·    Electronic Throttle Control ·    Dampolator Vibration Balancer ·    Powdered Metal Connecting Rods ·    Ultra-Fast Oxygen Sensors ·    PO5 Powertrain Control Module (PCM) ·    Single Close-Coupled Catalytic Converter ·    Improved Sealing ·    Improved Accessory Belt ·    Improved Starter ·    5W-30 Engine Oil
NEW RPO FOR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX With the launch of Regular Production Options L26 and L32 in the 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix, the acclaimed 3800 Series II 3.8L V-6 becomes the 3800 Series III. Objectives for the Series III were driven by the customer, and straightforward: Improve quality, performance and flexibility; reduce and noise, vibration and harshness as well as cost of ownership; and deliver contemporary, high-tech features such as Electronic Throttle Control.
Each has been achieved. Moreover, these objectives were achieved without reducing fuel economy or increasing unit cost, while preparing the 3800 Series III for a near-zero emissions standard mandated for 2005. Bottom line: The Series III enhances what was already one of GM’s highest-rated engines in both brand value and customer satisfaction.
EATON GEN V SUPERCHARGER The 3800 Series II SC is fitted with the most-sophisticated supercharging technology available: the segment-exclusive Eaton Gen V supercharger. So equipped, the 3800 Series II gives the 2004 Grand Prix class-leading output and acceleration, with the overall “drivability” or flexibility that sport sedan and coupe buyers expect over a broad rpm range.
The 90-cubic inch Gen V supercharger is very compact. Its housing includes the throttle-body adaptor, crankcase ventilation plumbing, coolant passages, the evaporative emissions purge valve and the rotor drive mechanism. The drive mechanism is sealed and permanently lubricated, obviating the need for oil connections and eliminating a potential source of leaks. Moreover, the Gen V features all-cast components and a larger, low-restriction outlet port. The tuned inlet port is also less restrictive, compared to previous-generation superchargers, allowing a larger (75 millimeter) throttle body. As a result, more air is pumped by the supercharger through the Series III’s induction system. The Gen V’s rotor is finished with Abraidbable Powder Coating (APC) rather than epoxy. APC is a patented material containing graphite that is electrostatically applied to the rotor and baked on. As a result, the rotor requires less clearance within the supercharger housing, resulting in less leakage around its edges, greater airflow at a given operating speed and lower operating temperature. The Gen V’s rotor bearings have been enlarged to increase durability and reduce operating noise and vibration.
As a result, the Gen V operates at considerably higher efficiency than its predecessors. At wide open throttle, the Gen V turns at 700 fewer rpm (a 9 percent reduction), draws 13 percent less power from the crankshaft, decreases operating temperature 15 percent and increases volumetric efficiency 9 percent. For the customer, that means a 9 percent increase in horsepower (see product specifications), and best- in-class acceleration times for the Grand Prix. Moreover, the 3800 Series III SC does not require premium fuel, and even with regular it produces as much power as the Series II. A Grand Prix owner might use regular for workweek commuting, then fill with premium for more spirited, enthusiast-style driving on the weekend.
RETURNLESS FUEL INJECTION The 3800 Series III is equipped with a “returnless” fuel injection system that eliminates fuel return lines between the engine and the gasoline tank.
Also known as a demand system, this new sequential fuel injection uses Bosch EV-6 injectors. Previous 3800s used a return line to manage fuel pressure by bleeding off excess fuel at the engine-mounted fuel rail and returning the excess to the tank. The new system eliminates the return lines and moves the fuel pressure regulator from the fuel rail on the engine to the fuel tank. The fuel rail incorporates full-length pressure pulse dampeners that reduce fuel injector induced pulsations, which in turn improves fuel-flow distribution and reduces noise.
Because it delivers only the amount of fuel need by the injectors, and returns no fuel to the gas tank, the returnless system essentially eliminates heat transfer from the engine to tank. This reduces the amount of vapor generated in the tank, and captured by the Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery (ORVR) system.
ELECTRONIC THROTTLE CONTROL (ETC) The 3800 Series III SC features electronic “drive-by-wire” throttle control. With ETC, there is no mechanical link between the accelerator pedal and the throttle. A potentiometer at the gas pedal measures pedal angle and sends a signal to the Throttle Actuator Controller (TAC) module, which is integrated in the throttle body and passes the signal to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The PCM then directs an electric motor to open the throttle at the appropriate rate. ETC delivers a number of benefits to the customer. It uses several data sources, including the transmission's shift patterns and traction at the drive wheels, in determining how far to open the throttle. ETC delivers outstanding throttle response and greater reliability than a mechanical throttle. Cruise control functions are integrated into the throttle control, reducing the number of engine parts and simplifying assembly.
Further, ETC has been specifically tuned on the Series III to match the sporting character of the Grand Prix. It is programmed with 19 separate throttle maps, or curves, tailored to deliver engine response according to the driving situation. At lower speed the curves are more progressive, for more subdued engine response. During parking lot maneuvers, for example, a given application of the gas pedal will deliver less engine power. At medium to high speeds, the throttle curves are steeper for more aggressive engine response.
Multiple throttle curves mean more immediate-and appropriate-engine response over the full range of driving situations. The benefits are most obvious over 20 mph, where the Series III’s ETC delivers power in a much more linear fashion than a mechanical linkage, with immediate response and virtually no peaks or valleys.
DAMPOLATOR VIBRATION BALANCER The 3800 Series III features a Dampolator that combines the best features of different devices designed to reduce torsional vibration in the crankshaft.
Because of their cylinder configuration, 90-degree V-6 engines can create torsional vibration in the crank-essentially flexing along the length of the crankshaft-at certain engine speeds. Engineers have developed various means of either damping or counteracting this flex. One solution is a standard damper, or a mass (usually a pulley-like disc) fitted to the front end of the crank with a thin rubber spring. Dampers are effective controlling crank vibration at higher engine speeds, typically above 4500 rpm. Another option is an isolator, which uses a thick rubber spring on a tuned pulley to prevent low-speed crank vibration from passing through the accessory drive belt to components such as the water pump or air conditioning compressor. An isolator is effective only at low engine speeds.
The Series III Dampolator delivers the benefits of both a damper and isolator. This computer-tuned crank balancer consists of two separate discs with two rubber springs of different thickness. It is effective at both ends of the rpm range and as a result, reduces vibration and harshness regardless of engine speed.
POWDERED METAL CONNECTING RODS The 3800 Series III has new hot-forged powdered metal connecting rods. Powdered metal is more durable and reliable than conventional cast iron, delivering greater anticipated life. As importantly, the powdered metal rods are stiffer than the cast iron parts they replace. That increases the resonant frequency of the rod and translates to lower vibration amplitude, meaning an overall increase in engine smoothness. ULTRA-FAST OXYGEN SENSORS The 3800 Series III is equipped with oxygen sensors with increased heating capacity. The front sensor is rated at 8.5 watts and the rear at 7.5 watts, compared to 6 watts in the 2003 3800 Series II, allowing the sensors to achieve their most efficient operating temperature more quickly. The new sensors are also pulse-width modulated, allowing the PCM to manage them at variable heating rates, rather than with a basic on-off switch.
The oxygen sensors are located where the exhaust manifold runners meet, before the catalytic converter in the engine's exhaust stream, and after the catalytic converter in the exhaust pipe. In effect, they measure emission levels going into the catalytic converter and emission levels coming out. Using readings from both sensors, the PCM manages various engine operations in a fashion that minimizes exhaust emissions. The new ultra-fast sensors allows the exhaust system to achieve this “closed loop” operation in matter of seconds, effectively monitoring oxygen levels before and after the catalytic converter for maximum emissions reduction.
PO5 POWERTRAIN CONTROL MODULE (PCM) The new P05 PCM provides state-of-the-art electronic engine management in the 3800 Series III. The PO5 has 50 percent more random access memory (RAM) than the previous-generation P04, twice as much read only memory (ROM) and a 60-percent increase in clock speed (approximately 25 Mhz). It allows more integration of powertrain and vehicle systems, such as electronic traction control and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) operation and it provides more sophisticated diagnostics, particularly for the Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery (ORVR) system. Moreover, it takes full advantage of new features such as the ultra-fast oxygen sensors and Electronic Throttle Control.
SINGLE CLOSE-COUPLED CATALYTIC CONVERTER The 3800 Series III features a more efficient dual-brick, close-coupled catalytic converter. This 1.3L converter is mounted near the engine rather than under the vehicle floor, and it requires a flex-coil crossover to join the downpipe on the front exhaust manifold with the rear exhaust manifold.
The new design has several advantages. Because the exhaust ports and exhaust manifolds heat more rapidly than any part of an engine, moving the catalytic converter closer to the manifold in turn allows the catalyst to heat more quickly. So positioned, the catalytic converter achieves light-off-the temperature at which exhaust emissions are most efficiently oxidized-more quickly. This considerably lowers emissions during cold starts-a brief period when an engine operates at its highest emissions level, and a critical phase in government certification tests. Additionally, control enhancements mean the Series III catalyst requires less precious metal. A combination of metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium in the catalytic substrate create the chemical reaction that turns exhaust emissions into oxygen and water vapor. These refinements reduce the overall cost of the converter.
DIRECT-MOUNT AIR CONDITIONING COMPRESSOR The air conditioning compressor bolts directly to the 3800 Series III’s engine block, without struts or braces. This direct mounting considerably reduces vibration at the compressor and contributes to the overall reduction in noise, vibration and harshness.
IMPROVED SEALING The 3800 Series III development team applied the latest sealing technology whenever possible. Improvements start with the rocker cover and oil pan gaskets, which are manufactured from an enhanced Elastomer material. The new gaskets provide better bead sealing and are more resistant to oil seepage for the life of the engine. Finally, the rocker cover gaskets are designed to enhance the structural rigidity of the covers, thereby reducing overall engine vibration.
Other gaskets were optimized with the same attention to detail. The lower intake gaskets are manufactured from a new HNBR material, which is more resistant than the previous silicone material to long-term deterioration with exposure to engine coolant. These gaskets now have compression limiters that maintain appropriate gasket compression for the life of the engine.
IMPROVED ACCESSORY BELT The accessory drive belt accommodates the new direct-mount AC compressor. Supplied by Conti Tech, the belt is validated to the same durability standard as that on the 2003 3800 Series II, but it was specifically developed for quieter operation, further reducing operational noise and harshness. The belt is manufactured of a new “EPDM’’ rubber compound which resists hardening and cracking that normally occurs with ozone exposure, extending the belt’s anticipated life well beyond 10 years.
IMPROVED STARTER The 3800 Series III uses a new starter introduced in conjunction with the switch to 5W-30 engine oil (below). This starter is validated to the same durability and performance standards as those used on previous 3800 V-6 engines, and it weighs 2.5 pounds less, trimming an equal amount from overall engine mass.
5W-30 ENGINE OIL The recommended lubricant for the 3800 Series III is 5W-30 oil, compared to 10W-30 in previous 3800s. With the lighter oil, the maximum change interval does not change. GM’s industry-leading Oil Life Monitor still calculates oil life based on a number of variables, including engine speed, operating temperature, load or rpm variance and period of operation at any given load and temperature, and then recommends a change when it’s actually needed, rather than by some pre-determined interval. The owner’s manual in cars equipped with the 3800 Series III will continue to recommend an oil change at least once a year.
The change in lubricant was driven by efficiencies in the engine and near-universal availability of the new GF-3 standard engine oil. GF-3 uses a new refining process, and it contains a friction modifier, meaning that that at a given weight or viscosity, it's more resistant to breakdown with heat. The 5W-30 engine oil is more efficient in cold ambient temperatures. It creates less friction or fluid resistance when the engine is cold, requiring less cranking power and reducing fuel consumption during cold starts. The 5W-30 oil also reaches its most efficient operating temperature more quickly that 10W-30.
OVERVIEW GM’s 3800 V-6 is to V-6 engines as the original Chevrolet small block it to the V-8. Based on numbers produced and its enduring value and functionality, the 3800 is the most significant V-6 ever designed. It remains the benchmark for pushrod-actuated, overhead-valve V-6 engines. The new Series III enhances the 3800’s reputation as a competitive, contemporary engine, with output, efficiency and emissions levels that meet or beat overhead cam engines, and superior low-end response.
The basic 3800 architecture dates to 1962, when the first version was introduced in a Buick. Since then more 25 million 3800s have been built, and it’s configuration and technology have constantly evolved. It consistently rates highest for customer satisfaction among GM engines, as determined by J.D. Power, and it has frequently been rated a Best Buy by Consumer Reports. Both the enthusiast and business press have raved about the 3800. It has been selected as one Ward’s Auto World’s “Ten Best Engine in the World” three times in the last five years, and for several lists of the best engines of the century published in 2000. The 3800 assembly plant in Flint, Mich., has been rated one of the most efficient and up-to-date engine plants in the world.
The 3800 Series II V-6 was first supercharged for the 1992 Buick Park Avenue Ultra. The result was output and performance comparable to competitive V8s, with the efficiency of a V-6. The durable, highly refined design of the standard 3800 allowed most major engine components, including block, crankshaft and cylinder heads, to be used for the supercharged variant without modification. The 3800 SC’s acceptance by customers has meant steadily increasing application in more vehicles.
With launch of the new 3800 Series III, this 90-degree V-6 improves in nearly every respect and adds contemporary, customer-driven technology such as Electronic Throttle Control. Yet its basic strength hasn’t changed. GM’s 3800 is the most successful V-6 ever because drivers care more about quality, value and real-world performance than the specific technologies that produce those traits.
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Wow! Great article! I've saved it to disk for the future.
Many thanks for posting that!
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