My personal opinion, I like the 3.5L DOHC. The 3.5 is higher maintenance
than the 3.8. People are bound to say the 3.8 is more reliable, but is
either really more reliable than the other, no. We aren't talking Mercedes
vs. Lada, we're talking two GM motors. The 3.8 can take more abuse than the
3.5 because of it's robust and proven push-rod design. So if you abuse your
vehicles, the 3.8 will last longer. If you baby your vehicles, it's going to
be personal preference, but be prepared for more "babying" if you opt for
Then again, if you abuse your vehicles, I think the tranny (4T65E?), which
is the same no matter which engine you get, will be your downfall.
Here's some more food for thought: The Intrigue was only produced from
1998-2002 and the '98 and '99 models are the only ones that had the 3.8L.
Not only that, but the 3.5L was optional in '99 on the GS and GX models, but
standard in the top-of-the-line GLS. So, if you want a 3.8L, your pickins
might be slim. ;)
Both the 3.5 and 3.8 use chains to drive their respective camshafts.
I would stick with the 3.8 engine. Far cheaper to fix if anything goes
wrong. The 3.5 is based on the v-8 Northstar Caddy engine and is
very expensive to work on. Plus, the average tech wont want anything
to do with it. The 3.5 is quite reliable, but when it has problems, you
The starter on a 3.5L is not under the intake, and I wouldn't call it "very
limited." It was in every Intrigue produced in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and also
available in the Aurora 2001 and 2002. Well, I guess it all depends n your
personal definition of "limited." The engine was on Ward's Top Ten Engine
list two years in a row, 1999 and 2000. Although, the 3800 was in the top
ten engines of the 20th centruy list.
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